Bill banning forced identity-chip implants clears House
"Invasion of privacy is an issue that really gets under State Rep. Babette Josephs' skin.
That's why the Philadelphia Democrat introduced a bill, passed unanimously last week by the House, that would ban the forced implantation of computer chips in humans.
Conjuring Orwellian images, Josephs worries the identification devices - the size of a grain of rice - could lead to a real-life Big Brother nightmare.
"I'm doing, I think, what the legislature does too little of," she said. "This is a problem on the horizon, and I want to address it before it becomes a societal disgrace."
Though the technology hasn't debuted in Pennsylvania, VeriChip, a company in Florida, received federal Food and Drug Administration clearance in 2004 to market the implanted microchips, which were tested on 200 Alzheimer's patients.
Injected into the triceps, the chips have unique 16-digit codes and GPS capabilities that allow nursing homes to find wandering patients.
"I think it's really horrible that we want to chip them like barcoded packages of meat," said Kim Sultzbaugh, a research specialist who helped Josephs write the bill.
California, North Dakota, and Wisconsin have enacted laws similar to the ban Josephs is proposing.
The technology can also be used for security, as in a widely reported case in Mexico. There, the implants were required for some government employees to enter restricted buildings."