California Bans Forced RFID Tagging of Humans


Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed a bill that bars California employers from making radio frequency identification (RFID) implants mandatory for employees.

The bill by state Sen. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto, will go into effect Jan. 1.

“It’s the ultimate invasion of privacy,” Simitian told the San Jose Mercury News. “They should find other ways to keep track of employees.”

The chips, created by Delray Beach, Fla.-based VeriChip Corp., gained national attention in October 2004 when the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the Radio Frequency ID (RFID) implants. The technology allows persons implanted with the devices to be identified and tracked by using broadcast radio identification.

While Wisconsin and North Dakota have passed similar laws, the technology industry has refused to support the bill, SB 262, contending it was unnecessary, the newspaper reported.

In 2006, the Cincinnati video surveillance firm drew the ire of privacy advocates when it required employees who work in its secure data center to be implanted with a chip.

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