May 31, 2007

Oklahoma lawmakers seek to prevent microchipping, not promote it


Interesting legislative goings on in Oklahoma around human chipping.

Oklahoma State Sen. Brian Crain and Rep. Sue Tibbs are the authors of a bill opposing the microchipping of people, SB 47. It passed out of the state Senate in March and has been making its way through committee. Creepily, it was apparently amended to allow for the microchipping of criminals, but calmer heads are prevailing and that provision has now been stricken (see article below). One interesting human interest note: Rep. Tibbs is a 73 year-old grandmother.

While I am pleased to see these legislative efforts (Liz and I submitted testimony in favor of the bill), we need to let lawmakers nationwide know about our Bodily Integrity Act. It covers all the bases and is urgently needed before society becomes numb to the violation these chips represent.

Our model bill is just one page long and written in plain English.

-Katherine Albrecht

House rejects microchip implants for violent criminals
By Tim Talley Associated Press Writer

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Legislation that would authorize microchip implants in people convicted of violent crimes was sent back to a committee for more work Wednesday after state House members questioned whether the proposal would violate constitutional civil liberties.

The measure, approved by the Senate, authorizes microchip implants for persons convicted of one or more of 19 violent offenses who have to serve at least 85 percent of their sentence, including murder, rape and some forms of robbery and burglary, while prohibiting government from requiring microchips implants in anyone else.

The tiny electronic implants are commonly used to keep track of pets and livestock, but several House members questioned whether their forced use in people would be unconstitutionally invasive.

"We are going down that slippery slope," said Rep. Ed Cannaday, D-Porum.

Lawmakers never voted on the measure. During debate, its author, Rep. Sue Tibbs, R-Tulsa, asked that it be sent back to a joint House-Senate conference committee where the exception for violent offenders was inserted.

Cannaday and others said the measure may violate the Fourth, Fifth And Fourteenth amendments to the U.S. Constitution. The Fourth Amendment prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures, the Eighth Amendment prohibits cruel and unusual punishment and the Fourteenth Amendment contains the Due Process and Equal Protection clauses.

"I see it as invasive," Cannaday said. He said many sex offenders and prisoners convicted of other crimes are already required to wear wrist or ankle bracelets when they are released from prison so their movements can be monitored by satellite tracking devices.


Posted by Katherine Albrecht at 8:36 AM | Comments (1)

March 18, 2007

EU to let RFID industry regulate itself


This is European Information Society Commissioner Viviane Reding. She just announced that the EU will not protect consumers from hidden RFID tags by requiring business to say when and where they're using RFID. Instead, the EU will allow businesses to regulate themselves.

Sounds like they're taking a page straight from the U.S. playbook. (And we all know how well industry self-regulation works here.)

Here are a few news excerpts to give you indigestion:

From the International Herald Tribune:

"I know that most of you are wondering what new regulation I am going to propose today," said Viviane Reding, the European commissioner responsible for Internet and communications, at a news conference at the Cebit technology convention in Hannover. "Well, today I am here to tell you that on RFIDs, there is not going to be a regulation," she said, referring to radio frequency identification tags.
From New Europe:

Speaking on the opening day of the Cebit trade fair in Germany, [EU Commissioner Viviane Reding] said Brussels believed there should be as little regulation as possible, and had no plans for laws to limit RFID (radio frequency identification) tags...Reding said the EU could wait till next year to review whether regulation was needed and would consider consumer concerns. “My view is that we should under-regulate rather than over-regulate so that this sector can take off,” she said.
At least one American official is "relieved," according to theInternational Herald Tribune (also cited above):

Robert Cresanti, a U.S. under secretary of commerce for technology who met with Reding at Cebit, said he was relieved that the European Commission was not going to regulate RFIDs, which he said would have slowed their diffusion and added costs.

"No regulation, in my point of view, is a victory," he said.

In the United States, RFID use is largely unencumbered by national and state law, and the chips must only respect restrictions on dissemination of health and financial data, Cresanti said. "In the EU, there is a broader privacy protection, and our concern was that existing laws could have been used to the detriment of RFID technology," he said.

But they won't be.
I don't think the public won this round, Europe.

- Katherine Albrecht

Posted by Katherine Albrecht at 2:59 AM | Comments (0)

October 5, 2006

Schwarzenegger's Support of RFID Tracking Technology No Shock


Governor Schwarzenegger's veto of a bill aimed at protecting California citizens from surreptitious RFID tracking should come as no shock if you understand his penchant for paternalistic power.

In a 1990 U.S. News interview he was quoted as saying "My relationship to power and authority is that I'm all for it. People need somebody to watch over them. Ninety-five percent of the people in the world need to be told what to do and how to behave."

Senate Bill 768, known as the Identity Information Protection Act of 2006, was passed by state legislators last month. It was drafted to prohibit abusive tracking of people through RFID tags and give Californians control over personal information stored on RFID-laced identity documents.

Among other things, the bill would have provided "... that a person or entity that intentionally remotely reads or attempts to remotely read a person’s identification document using radio waves without his or her knowledge and prior consent...shall be punished by imprisonment in a county jail for up to one year, a fine of not more than $5,000, or both that fine and imprisonment." (See

Schwarzenegger was apparently aware that his failure to sign the bill could open the door to more Big Brother surveillance on California soil. He issued a statement explaining that he vetoed the bill because it could conflict with new government standards for identity documents like those to be issued for driver's licenses under the Real ID Act. (See

The Real ID Act, passed in the spring of 2005, gives the Department of Homeland Security the right to set new federal driver's license standards. Privacy advocates and civil libertarians are not only concerned that these new standards will create a de facto national ID, but that this national ID will contain remotely readable RFID tags.

Homeland Security is already testing RFID tags in visitor documents, and it is on record as shopping for a very powerful form of the technology that could allow law enforcement to read documents secured in purses, wallets and even in cars speeding by at 55 miles per hour.

It wouldn't surprise me if the governor has already read our book "Spychips" and understands how RFID technology could be used to track, monitor, and control citizens. He's just the sort of character who would find added value in RFID deep organ implants for humans and IBM's RFID-based "PERSON TRACKING UNIT" that can follow people in places like shopping malls, libraries, theaters, museums, elevators and even restrooms. Why, with that kind of power, he could most certainly keep track of the 95 percent of his constituents that he seems to believe need close supervision and instructions on proper behavior.

For more on this story, see Martin Bosworth's article Schwarzenegger Terminates Spychip Bill at
Arnie Terminates RFID Bill at

-- Liz McIntyre

Posted by liz at 3:01 PM | Comments (1)

June 10, 2006

Arkansas joins the fight against NAIS


Arkansas has launched a "stop NAIS (Nat'l Animal ID System) program" with meetings in Fayetteville on 7-1-06, and in Conway on 7-9-06.

You go, Arkansas!

-Katherine Albrecht

Posted by Katherine Albrecht at 11:00 PM | Comments (3)

California lawmaker introduces bill to ENCOURAGE use of RFID

The RFID industry, not content to send out paid lobbyists to destroy every RFID labeling bill that comes along, is now apparently encouraging government representatives to promote RFID as a privacy enhancing technology. These guys have no shame.

Here's how Contactless News breathlessly reports the development:

A new "common sense" RFID bill that encourages the use of RFID technology in state government IDs, while addressing privacy concerns of citizens and organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union, is gaining traction in California.

The bill, AB 2561, co-sponsored by Silicon Valley State Assemblyman Alberto Torrico, represents a more sensible approach to privacy and remotely readable identification cards than previously proposed bill, says the American Electronics Association (AeA), a technology advocacy membership organization, and co-sponsor of the legislation....

The hope, from the AeA's perspective, is that the new Torrico bill will help foster consumer acceptance of RFID technology, says Ms. Gould. So far, more than one-dozen states have attempted to pass legislation either limiting or prohibiting the use of RFID. Much of the legislation - and consumer support for such legislation - is based on false or exaggerated propaganda, members of the AeA contend.

While privacy is a serious issue, many consumers are unaware of the power of RFID to actually protect privacy - not thwart it, says Ms. Gould.

This reminds me of the sort of propaganda we used to hear from the nuclear power industry. "Nuclear power is CLEAN energy! It's GOOD for the environment!" (Never mind those tons of glowing nuclear waste we have to bury in the desert...that's irrelevant.)


I had fun poking around to see who funds the illustrious assemblyman Alberto Torrico. Not surprisingly, I found his coffers contain funds from such infamous RFID players as Cingular Wireless (whose parent company, Bell South, wants to pick through your garbage at the dump to glean marketing data about your household), Hewlett Packard (the main company deploying item-level RFID on consumer products today), Boeing (who got AIM Global to develop the "Aim RFID Mark"), Bank of America (with a patent out for billboards that ID you through your spychipped belongings as you walk past), Intel (who wants to rig your medicine cabinet with RFID readers to monitor your use of tagged prescripotion drugs), and Target (one of the largest retailers with a major RFID initiative underway).

Can somebody in Fremont, Milpitas, or Castro Valley send Mr. Torrico a polite note abuot this? The "false or exaggerated propaganda" part really undermines the AEA's commitment to protecting privacy. Torrico should know who he's gotten into bed with. Here's Torrico's district map and contact information.

- Katherine Albrecht

Posted by Katherine Albrecht at 9:31 PM | Comments (3)

March 17, 2006

Tennessee members: Help stop animal chipping!

Way to go, Tennessee rebels! If you are lucky enough to be in Tennessee, please call and write your state lawmakers and ask them to support this bill to prevent TN from participating in a system to require all farm animals to be chipped, numbered, and monitored:

SENATE BILL 3258, By Burchett // HOUSE BILL 3297, By Niceley

"Section 44-7-501. At no time shall department of agriculture funds or any other state funds be appropriated to effectuate the implementation of the National Animal Identification System (NAIS)."

Who is my (TN) state senator?

Who is my (TN) state representative?

See extended entry below for the full text of this bill. (It's easy to read and very informative.)

-Katherine Albrecht

Filed for intro on 02/22/2006

By Burchett

By Niceley

AN ACT to amend Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 44, Chapter 7, relative to animal identification.

WHEREAS, by January 2008 the final rule requiring premises registration and animal identification as defined under National Animal Identification System (NAIS) program standards will become effective; and

WHEREAS, the NAIS target date for the required reporting of defined animal movements, and for making the entire NAIS program mandatory is January, 2009; and

WHEREAS, administered by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the goal of the NAIS program is to register every farm animal (including non-food animals such as horses) in a centralized government database; and

WHEREAS, NAIS will require micro-chipping of each animal at the expense of the owner, and a premises identification for every farm, which will be linked to a satellite photo and Global Positioning System record; and

WHEREAS, the National Institute for Animal Agriculture (NIAA), composed primarily of large corporate producers and the makers and producers of animal identification equipment, lobbied the USDA to create the NAIS to supposedly protect U.S. citizens and their animals from disease; and

WHEREAS, in April 2002 a task force composed of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and over 30 livestock organizations played a central role in creating the animal identification system, while small-scale farmers involved in animal husbandry and animal hobbyists were not represented; and

WHEREAS, once the NAIS becomes law, farmers will be forced to pay fees to register their farms and their animals; and

WHEREAS, farmers will also be forced to report the birth, death, loss of identification device, sale, and/or movement of any animal in their possession to the National Animal Records Repository within a short time of each occurrence; and

WHEREAS, this provision also requires farmers to report to the National Animal Records Repository when an animal they own attends a livestock show, participates in a trail ride, is transported to another farm for stud service, or takes part in a community parade; and

WHEREAS, the NAIS requirements have already proven to be unduly burdensome on the farmers of this state, and will become even more problematic for our farmers upon the final implantation of the system; now, therefore


SECTION 1. Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 44, Chapter 7, is amended by adding the following as a new, appropriately designated part:

Section 44-7-501. At no time shall department of agriculture funds or any other state funds be appropriated to effectuate the implementation of the National Animal Identification System (NAIS).

SECTION 2. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law, the public welfare requiring it.

Posted by Katherine Albrecht at 11:27 PM | Comments (1)