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Measure would ban implanted microchips

POSTED: February 10, 2010 4:00 a.m.

The technology isn’t that widespread, but already the “Chips” are stacked against it.

  

A bill sponsored by District 51 state Sen. Chip Pearson, R-Dawsonville, and District 21 state Sen. Chip Rogers, R-Woodstock, would make it illegal to implant a microchip in someone against their will.

  

The measure passed the Senate last week by a 47-2 vote.

  

Microchips, or small devices or sensors capable of transmitting or receiving information, have been used to track dogs, cats and other pets for some time.

  

But Pearson acknowledged the sensors are still a year or two away from being used for people.

  

“It’s already out there and there are several firms that are marketing it and that are in trials for FDA approval,” he said.

  

“Technology is moving very swiftly and we wanted to make sure that we were upholding our citizens’ constitutional rights and protections.”

  

Among benefits of microchips are their tracking capability, which could be useful for paroled criminals.

  

The devices could also contain medical history. Following an emergency such as a car crash, a patient’s medical records could be accessed through a quick scan.

  

The chips could also help track kidnapped children.

  

But Pearson said the technology could lead down a slippery slope, where people could be microchipped and tracked without their knowledge.

  

Pearson’s bill, inspired by similar ones unsuccessfully floated in the state House for several years, would make it a misdemeanor for someone to implant another without their permission.

  

It would also regulate legal microchipping through the authority of the Georgia Composite Medical Board.

  

Doing so, Pearson said, would prevent non-medical industries such as tattoo shops from implanting people.

  

If approved in the state House, the law could take effect July 1.

  

“If someone wants to do it ... there are provisions, and we want to protect that person’s right,” he said.

  

“We’re not prohibiting it from someone who wants to do it, we’re just saying we don’t want people to be compelled against their will to be implanted.”

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