Dumbest tech bill so far this year?

You be the judge, but a California state senator has worked himself into a righteous lather over RFID.

From my vantage point in the peanut gallery, it's oh so tempting to hold our elected officials up to ridicule. But truth be told, it's sometimes impossible to resist. And when it comes to that increasingly busy intersection between the worlds of politics and technology, it seems the hits just keep on coming.

So it is that California State Senator Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto) introduced a bill that would "prohibit any person from forcing any other person to undergo an implant in their body of a radio frequency identification device."

I kid thee not.

His fellow pols obviously couldn't resist backing such a ostentatiously feel-good measure and the state Senate dutifully passed the bill on a 28-9 vote today. (The fact that nine senators actually voted against passage is grist for another day. Either they're delightfully libertarian iconoclasts or just out-and-out crypto fascists.)

You have to admire the guy's chutzpah. Simitian, who chairs the state Senate's Committee on Privacy, shamelessly painted himself as the defender against those who would doom us to an Orwellian future.

"RFID technology is not in and of itself the issue. RFID is a minor miracle, with all sorts of good uses," Simitian is quoted in a release from his press office. "But we shouldn't condone forced 'tagging' of humans. It's the ultimate invasion of privacy."

Well, duh.

OK, I'm having sport at Simitian's expense. But come on, dude. If we reach the point where Big Brother is forcing folks to implant RFID chips into humans, we're all going to be in trouble.

The bill now goes to the Governator.

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Tech Culture
About the author

Charles Cooper was an executive editor at CNET News. He has covered technology and business for more than 25 years, working at CBSNews.com, the Associated Press, Computer & Software News, Computer Shopper, PC Week, and ZDNet.

 

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