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SB 362: Banning RFID Implants (2007)

Summary

SB 362 is part of a 5-bill package Joe has introduced to address various concerns related to the government use of RFID (radio frequency identification).  Although RFID has been around since World War II, recent interest in it has resulted in the development of hundreds of new RFID-enabled products, including a subset of devices designed to identify, track, and monitor people.  Currently, most of these devices are incorporated into cards or documents, like a passport or a student ID.  However, subdermal RFID for humans has been developed and is being marketed in the U.S. and abroad.  While these products have some promise, they come with the same significant security and privacy risks associated with other RFID-enabled products.  And because they are inserted underneath the skin and are difficult and costly to remove, they present additional policy questions and difficult implications for freedom and privacy.  SB 362 responds to these problems by prohibiting the forced implantation of RFID tags in humans.

For more information, you can read the SB 362 "Fact Sheet" prepared by a member of Senator Simitian's staff.

Final Status and Text

SB 362 is no longer active. Its final status was:
Signed into Law

You can read its final text on the Legislature's Bill Information site.

Background Information

NEED FOR THE BILL

  • Subdermal RFID-enabled identification devices have been developed and are currently being marketed in the U.S. and abroad—VeriChip Corporation, which went public on Feb.  9, 2007 and has the only FDA-approved human implantable RFID system, stated in its prospectus that it is intent on developing human implantation markets and expects these to become major sources of revenue in the future.
  • Privacy and security risks—RFID systems can be compromised, many in seconds, which exposes device holders to identity theft, property theft, surveillance, stalking and tracking, and other serious harm.
  • No limits, no protections—There are no legal limits on the type of information that can be stored on an RFID tag; and there are no laws establishing even minimum security protections for the information tags contain.  So there’s nothing to prevent an employer or government from forcing you to carry or implant a RFID tag that broadcasts your race, religion, employer, or home address to anyone with a $150.00 RFID reader.
  • Health care and other costs—Subdermal RFID is still a very new application.  Its long-term health effects and implementation costs are unknown.  Even assuming subdermal applications are proved safe, who will pay the standard health care costs of insertion and removal?  And in the event of a product recall, employment termination, technological obsolescence, or identity theft, who pays?
  • Incentives matter—A Department of Homeland Security privacy committee report from December 2006 notes that efficiencies from RFID-enabled IDs are limited because you still need staff to confirm that the document holder is who they say they are.  This problem could be addressed with subdermal implantation, which will become a powerful institutional incentive for subdermal implantation.
  • Other states—Wisconsin has already moved to ban this practice.  AB 290 was introduced and signed in 2005.  That measure passed with broad, bipartisan support.  A similar measure, SB 2220, has also been introduced by a Republican lawmaker in Florida and is making its way through the legislature there.
  • California law—Current California law does not specifically prohibit the forced implantation of RFID devices in people.

WHAT WOULD SB 362 DO?
SB 362 would prohibit the forced, compelled, or coerced implantation of a subdermal identification device—including the standard, chipped RFID tags, and new, chipless, invisible RFID tattoos.  It would not impact voluntary implantation.

 


News & Press Releases about SB 362

10/13/2007 - New law bars forced implants of ID chips

10/12/2007 - Simitian Bill to Ban 'Tagging' of Humans Signed into Law -- "RFID" at Issue

09/03/2007 - Safe labor (SB 362 Editorial)

08/30/2007 - Simitian Bill to Ban 'Tagging' Humans Closer to Becoming Law - "RFID" at Issue

08/30/2007 - Senator Simitian Speaks on SB 362 - Forced RFID Implant Ban

08/12/2007 - A chip on my shoulder

07/29/2007 - The ultimate invasion of privacy

06/26/2007 - State Senator Argues that RFID Technology Allows the Government to Track Your Whereabouts

06/25/2007 - Editorial: State needs law to protect personal data on chips

06/19/2007 - Raising privacy alarm over RFID chips