Josephs introduces bill to ban the human implantation of ID devices

HARRISBURG, Sept. 22 – State Rep. Babette Josephs, D-Phila., has introduced legislation that would make it illegal to implant any identification device on or under a person's skin that would contain and transmit personal information. The bill (H.B. 2374) also specifies penalties for violations of the measure.

Josephs said the risks to privacy that could occur as a result of such a device on any human, regardless of age or condition, would outweigh any possible benefit that could be derived. She also added that some medical experts believe such devices may contribute to causes of cancer.

"Maintaining our personal and our family's privacy is becoming increasingly difficult," Josephs said. 'Any positive impact that an implanted device could have would be eclipsed by the potential damage that could be done if the information was accessed by an outside party not intended to have the information. Moreover some of this information should not be collected by government either.

"Government organizations, independent researchers, members of the technology industry and civil liberties watchdog groups have all expressed concern about the personal security threat posed by such an action."

Josephs said that implanting identification devices is part of a larger issue with the increasing number of technologies that can identify a person's personal information or location, including GPS, cell-site location and public surveillance.

In the legislation, personal information would include name; address; contact information, including phone number and e-mail; date of birth; driver's license; Social Security or state identification number; religion; ethnicity; fingerprint or any other unique identifier.

A person found in violation would be subject to a civil penalty of up to $10,000, dependent on how long it takes the offense to be corrected. The person who had the implantation would also be able to bring a civil action against the guilty person for actual damages.

The bill was voted out of the House State Government Committee unanimously on Monday without amendment and now moves to the full House for consideration.