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Bill would ban chip implantation in employees

MARY DANNEMILLER | CINCINNATI COMMUNITY PRESS | August 3 2006

SYCAMORE TWP. -- State Sen. Robert Schuler (R -- 7th District) recently introduced a bill that would prevent companies from implanting microchips in their employees without their consent.

The Employee Privacy Protection Bill comes as an answer to the company CityWatcher.com's use of radio frequency identification tags in two employees.

The Walnut Hills-based security company came under fire in February after it was discovered that Chief Executive Officer Sean Darks and another unnamed employee were injected in the forearm with a VeriChip.

The chip acted as an identification card, allowing access to classified areas as a signal transmitted an ID number to a receiver.

The impending law defines "radio frequency identification tags" as silicon chips containing an antenna that stores data and transmits data to a wireless receiver.

A VeriChip can also be used as a global positioning system, the senator said.

"People have to have their privacy. It's not up to the employer to keep tabs on (employees)," Schuler said.

If passed, the bill would make it illegal for employers to require their employees to be implanted with a chip.

CityWatcher.com's employees were implanted with the chip voluntarily, which is permitted under the new bill.

"Voluntary use is OK, but sometimes it's hard to say what's voluntary and what's not," Schuler said.

The bill states that any employer caught requiring his or her employees to be chipped will be fined $150 per violation.

"It ($150) is a typical fine for a minor misdemeanor and it's enough to prevent further use," Schuler said.

Though CityWatcher.com is the first known company in the United States to implant employees with VeriChips, Wisconsin also recently passed a bill which says that no one can require the use of such chips.

According to Schuler, the fine for a violation in Wisconsin is $10,000 per day.

Due to the fact that the Senate is not in session, the bill will not face a vote until September and is not expected to reach the House of Representatives until November.

Darks, chief executive officer of CityWatcher.com, was unable to be reached for comment.

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