The Virgina House of Delegates on Wednesday approved a
measure that could protect Virginia residents from overbearing employers, and possibly the
The law would make it illegal to implant an identification or tracking device into a person's body without their written consent. As the use of implanted microchips becomes more common -- people use them to track pets and could possibly use them for purposes such as securing one's medical history -- lawmakers are starting to address concerns. Some are concerned their use among humans would lead to a lack of privacy or abuse from employers. Others, the Washington Post reports, are also concerned the use of microchips could be the "mark of the beast" -- or the coming of the antichrist.
"My understanding -- I'm not a theologian -- but there's a prophecy in the Bible that says you'll have to receive a mark, or you can neither buy nor sell things in end times," Del. Mark L. Cole, the bill's sponsor, told the Post. "Some people think these computer chips might be that mark."
Cole reportedly said that he primarily sponsored the bill because of the privacy issues.
"I just think you should have the right to control your own body," he said.
Yet some fundamentalist Christians see more serious concerns in the Book of Revelation in the Bible, which reads, "He causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name."
Those opposed to the legislation mocked the connection to the Bible story. Del. Robert Brink reportedly said he never heard voters on the campaign trail mention any concerns about microchips.
"I didn't hear anything about the danger of asteroids striking the Earth, about the threat posed by giant alligators in our cities' sewer systems or about the menace of forced implantation of microchips in human beings," he said.
Some other states, including Georgia and Tennessee, are considering similar measures. A couple of states including California and Wisconsin have already passed similar laws.(2.10.2010, Stephanie Condon) http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-6195506-503544.html
Human microchips seen by some in Virginia House as device of antichrist.
RICHMOND, FEB. 9 -- The House of Delegates is scheduled to vote Wednesday on a bill that would protect Virginians from attempts by employers or insurance companies to implant microchips in their bodies against their will
It might also save humanity from the antichrist, some supporters think.
Del. Mark L. Cole (R-Fredericksburg), the bill's sponsor, said that privacy issues are the chief concern behind his attempt to criminalize the involuntary implantation of microchips. But he also said he shared concerns that the devices could someday be used as the "mark of the beast" described in the Book of Revelation.
"My understanding -- I'm not a theologian -- but there's a prophecy in the Bible that says you'll have to receive a mark, or you can neither buy nor sell things in end times," Cole said. "Some people think these computer chips might be that mark."
Cole said that the growing use of microchips could allow employers, insurers or the government to track people against their will and that implanting a foreign object into a human being could also have adverse health effects.
"I just think you should have the right to control your own body," Cole said.
The religious overtones have cast the debate into a realm that has made even some supporters uneasy and caused opponents to mock the bill for legislating the apocalypse.
Del. Robert H. Brink (D-Arlington) said on the House floor that he did not find many voters demanding microchip legislation when he was campaigning last fall: "I didn't hear anything about the danger of asteroids striking the Earth, about the threat posed by giant alligators in our cities' sewer systems or about the menace of forced implantation of microchips in human beings."
Microchips, which use radio frequency identification, have been used in pets to identify and track them. Proponents suggest that such chips could be invaluable in making people's medical records portable and secure and in helping to identify and find missing children. Others have urged they be used with Alzheimer's disease patients.
But the growing use of microchips has collided with the Book of Revelation. The biblical passage in question is in Chapter 13 and describes the rise of a satanic figure known as "the Beast": "He causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name."
David Neff, editor of the magazine Christianity Today, said that some fundamentalist Christians believe that bar codes and implanted microchips could be used by a totalitarian government to control commerce -- a sign of the coming end of the world.
"This is part of a larger attempt to constantly read current history in the light of the symbolic language of the Book of Revelation," he said.
That book has been sifted for clues to contemporary events almost since the ink on the parchment dried, and Caesar, Nero, Napoleon, Hitler and some of history's other controversial one-namers have been identified as possible antichrists. Now, it's President Obama's turn, as tea partyers and others warn of federal intrusions into the debate over health-care reform.
Now, the book is giving new life to worries about microchips.
Such fears seemed futuristic until veterinarians began implanting microchips in pets in the 1990s and especially after a Delray Beach, Fla.-based company, VeriChip, introduced an implantable FDA-approved chip in 2001 that could store a person's medical records.
A voluntary initiative by the federal government to control disease outbreaks by tracking livestock using microchips and 15-digit numbers has also whipped up fears of government intrusion in some farming communities.
"I think it's kind of a lot of things. It's everything from civil liberties to privacy rights to the mark of the beast," said Katherine Albrecht, a nationally syndicated radio host who co-wrote "Spychips," a book about corporations' use of microchips and other potentially invasive technologies.
Several states, including Wisconsin, have approved bans such as the one Virginia is proposing, and the Georgia Senate passed a similar bill last week.
Virginia Del. Charles W. Carrico Sr. (R-Grayson) said that he would probably back the bill because his rural community is leery of government intrusions. But Carrico said he also gives credence to biblical teachings on the importance of being vigilant against an antichrist.
"As a Christian, I believe there is a time that Christ will come back to receive his people home, and that's just the basis of what the Bible shows, and that there will be an antichrist that arises during that time, and those that remain, to buy or sell anything, they will have to take on this mark," Carrico said. "I don't know that it's a microchip."
As the measure moved through House committees, Del. David B. Albo (R-Fairfax) said that lawmakers wrestled with whether the military or military contractors should be able to require that employees receive implants as a condition of employment.
"This whole end-of-days thing I just heard about through rumors," Albo said. "The fact that some people who support it are a little wacky doesn't make it a bad idea."
Others dismissed the legislation, calling it a sideshow as lawmakers grapple with a huge budget gap.
"We've got a $4 billion hole, and we're spending time on microchips," said Del. Albert C. Pollard Jr. (D-Northumberland). "At least when Nero fiddled, they got good music."
(2.10.2010, Fredrick Kunkle and Rosalind S. Helderman, Washington Post Staff Writer) http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/02/09/AR2010020903796.html?sid=ST2010021000012
HB 53 Human tracking devices; unlawful use thereof by insurer or
Mark L. Cole
Summary as passed House: (all summaries)
Unlawful use of human tracking devices. Provides that it is unlawful for an insurer to require his insured as a condition of obtaining insurance or remaining insured, or for an employer to require his employee as a condition of employment, to have an identification/tracking device or mark implanted or permanently or semi-permanently incorporated into the body, skin, teeth, hair, or nails of such person to track, or to aid in tracking such person. Violations are subject to a $500 civil penalty.
Full text and status of Del. Mark L. Cole's anti-tracking-device bill
HOUSE BILL NO. 53 Offered January 13, 2010 Prefiled December 22, 2009 A BILL to amend the Code of Virginia by adding a section numbered 18.2-54.3, relating to the unlawful implantation of human tracking devices. ---------- Patron-- Cole ---------- Referred to Committee for Courts of Justice
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of Virginia:
1. That the Code of Virginia is amended by adding a section numbered 18.2-54.3 as follows:
§ 18.2-54.3. Unlawful implantation or use of human tracking devices; penalty.
A. As used in this section:
"Consent" means informed written consent following full disclosure of the capabilities of the identification/tracking device or mark and any health and other risks associated with the identification/tracking device or mark. A minor cannot grant consent, nor shall consent of a guardian, guardian ad litem, attorney-in-fact, parent, or other agent on behalf of a minor be considered lawful consent.
"Identification/tracking device or mark" means any item, application, device, marking, or other technology capable of storing or passively or actively transmitting an individual's identity, characteristics, status, group membership, travel history, or location, or capable of storing or transmitting a number, symbol, signal, pattern, or other identifier that could be linked with any such information.
"Track" means to locate, follow or monitor.
B. It is unlawful to cause a person to have an identification/tracking device or mark implanted or permanently or semipermanently incorporated into or on his body, skin, teeth, hair, or nails without his consent.
It is unlawful to implant or incorporate an identification/tracking device or mark into or on a human corpse.
It is unlawful to use an identification/tracking device or mark in or on a person in order to track, or to aid in tracking, the person, without his consent.
It is unlawful to use the absence of an identification/tracking device or mark as a basis for discriminating against a person for any purpose whatsoever, including, but not limited to, employment, housing, insurance, medical care, voting, education, travel, banking, finance, and commerce.
C. A violation of this section is punishable as a Class 1 misdemeanor.