Human Microchip Implantation

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  • 1. Legislative Briefs from the Legislative Reference Bureau Legislative Brief 06−13 June 2006 HUMAN MICROCHIP IMPLANTATION 2005 Wisconsin Act 482, passed by the leg­ Convenience. As with most technology, it islature and signed by Governor Jim Doyle on can be seen as a timesaving convenience. May 30, 2006, prohibits the required implant­ Some night clubs in Europe already allow ing of microchips in humans. It is the first law patrons with microchip implants to pay with of its kind in the nation reflecting a proactive the electronic codes they carry under their attempt to prevent potential abuses of this skin, and some in the U.S. have experimented emergent technology. with programming computers to read RFID implanted microchips to accomplish such BACKGROUND tasks as unlocking a car with a wave of the hand. Microchip implantation technology has been widely used for pets and livestock for a HEALTH AND PRIVACY CONCERNS number of years, but has only recently been 2005 Wisconsin Act 482 is not intended to developed for human use. In October 2004, the prohibit human microchip implantations, but U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is generally seen as a first step in regulating a cleared a radio frequency identification (RFID) procedure that has raised health and privacy microchip for medical use in humans. It is concerns. made by VeriChip Corporation, to whose Health Risks. As with any surgery, health board of directors former Governor Tommy risks are involved. The FDA has reported on Thompson was appointed in July 2005. Cur­ the specific risks of the VeriChip microchip, rently, human RFID implantation is used for some of which are: adverse tissue reaction, medical records, a form of identification, and migration of implanted transponder, electro­ as a timesaving device. magnetic interference, electrical hazards, and Medical Records. The technology used magnetic resonance imaging incompatibility. by VeriChip allows a hospital with a special Identity Theft. Privacy advocates warn scanner to read a unique medical identifica­ that carrying personal identification on an tion code in the microchip. Medical personnel RFID microchip may lead to more identity can then input that code into a computer data­ theft. Although the current technology base and quickly locate medical records for a requires a sensor to be very close to the micro­ patient. This could save precious time during chip, and the microchips only contain an iden­ an emergency or reduce risks when treating a tification code, some have compared this patient with dementia. technology to wearing your Social Security Security. This technology is also being number on your sleeve. used for improved safety and security. Some Mass Implantation. Civil libertarians organizations have already begun to use warn that human implantation has not implanted microchips as an electronic key to received enough debate and may put us on a provide access to highly sensitive areas. slippery slope toward a system of human Prepared by Anthony Gad, Legislative Analyst Reference Desk: (608) 266­0341 Web Site: www.legis.state.wi.us/lrb
  • 2. −2 − LB−06−13 numbering. They contend that human micro­ those changes. Assembly Amendment 1 to chip implantation will first be sold to the pop­ 2005 Assembly Bill 290 would have allowed ulace as being beneficial, fun, and ultra­conve­ requiring microchip implantation of certain nient, convincing many that microchip sex offenders and minors at the direction of implantations are benign. their parents. It was introduced by Represen­ tative Scott Suder, the author of 2005 Wiscon­ Some worry that mass implantation will sin Act 431, which requires that certain sex lead to large scale abuse. For example, U.S. offenders receive lifetime tracking with a Senator Arlen Specter reported that Colum­ global positioning system. Senate Substitute bian President Alvaro Uribe suggested that Amendment 1 to 2005 Assembly Bill 290 Columbian seasonal workers could have removed the exceptions introduced by Assem­ microchips implanted into their bodies before bly Amendment 1 and returned the language being permitted to enter the U.S. The senator’s to its original form. reported objection to this idea centered on its lack of effectiveness, as immigrant workers might be able to remove the microchips. OTHER STATES At least 17 states have introduced or con­ LEGISLATIVE HISTORY sidered legislation in 2006 related to RFIDs, 2005 Wisconsin Act 482 has only two pro­ including Rhode Island which considered a visions. It prohibits requiring anyone to bill to restrict the use of RFIDs for the purpose undergo a microchip implantation and pro­ of tracking the movement or identity of an vides that violators forfeit up to $10,000 per employee, student, or client as a condition of day. Although the act has a limited scope, the obtaining a benefit or services. Some states, legislative debate reflected a wide­ranging such as New Hampshire and Georgia, are discussion of potential applications. studying the issue. The New Hampshire Leg­ islature passed a law on May 24, 2006, creating 2005 Assembly Bill 290. On April 4, 2005, the Commission on the Use of Radio Fre­ Assembly Bill 290 was introduced by Repre­ quency Technology to study the benefits and sentative Marlin Schneider to prohibit requir­ potential privacy implications. In Georgia, a ing an individual to undergo microchip resolution adopted on March 28, 2006, created implantation and subject a violator to the the House Study Committee on Biological Pri­ equivalent of a Class A forfeiture from the vacy. Few states have taken the step toward Criminal Code. The drafting record describes regulating human implantation of RFID a proposal to prohibit requiring, coercing, or microchips. Legislation was introduced in attempting to coerce any individual into hav­ New Jersey on May 15, 2006, to prohibit requir­ ing a microchip implanted. As introduced, the ing an individual to have a microchip legislation did not mention “coercing or implanted, to require an informed written con­ attempting to coerce,” and instead focused on sent before implantation, and to entitle those “required” implanting. implanted to have the microchip removed at Amendments. Two amendments were any time. adopted during the legislative process. In the assembly, a simple amendment was passed to FOR FURTHER INFORMATION reduce the scope of the prohibition on required human microchip implantation, but a senate View a copy of 2005 Wisconsin Act 482 at substitute amendment subsequently reversed www.legis.state.wi.us