The microchip market has really seen a boom in the past few years, and it’s because of more than just the little squares popping up on our debit and credit cards. If you follow the tech market like we do, you’re probably aware that there are some companies out there developing chips that can be embedded in the human body for various uses—be it to unlock your car, make mobile payments (without your smartphone), track health and wellness info, and more.
While the use cases are limited at this point, one Nevada lawmaker doesn’t see any reason to wait around when it comes to regulating this new tech space, and perhaps for good reason.
Republican Sen. Becky Harris of Las Vegas introduced a bill in the Nevada legislature that would make illegal the act of implanting computer chips in humans that store personal information and track someone’s location without that person’s consent. Nevada would become the fifth state to join the movement banning mandatory identification markers in humans as a precaution to keep the new, emerging tech from potential misuse. The others include California, North Dakota, Oklahoma, and Wisconsin.
“This is a completely new issue,” Harris told the Associated Press. “I just want a safety measure in place until we better understand the technology and the reasoning behind people’s desire to require implanting chips.”
Radio frequency ID (RFID) tech has progressed to a point where it can be encased in glass tubes the size of about two grains of rice and injected under the skin. Humans have been using the tech to keep track of pets, goods, and other products for years now. In 2004, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the chips for use in humans.
Holly Welborn, the policy director at the ACLU of Nevada, told the AP that there’s no “impending need” to protech humans against improper use of microchips, but that there’s no question using them would raise all kinds of privacy issues.
“There really aren’t, under any circumstance, any justifications for that type of a tracking device on a human being,” she said.