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California Blocks RFID Implants In Workers 422

InternetVoting writes "California has passed a bill banning companies from requiring employees to have RFID chips surgically implanted. Already one company has been licensed by the federal government, implanting more than 2000 people. At least one other company —, a Cincinnati video surveillance company — already required RFID implants in some employees. 'State Sen. Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto) proposed the measure after at least one company began marketing radio frequency identification devices for use in humans. "RFID is a minor miracle, with all sorts of good uses," Simitian said. "But we shouldn't condone forced 'tagging' of humans. It's the ultimate invasion of privacy.'"
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California Blocks RFID Implants In Workers

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  • Yes... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by advocate_one ( 662832 ) on Monday September 03, 2007 @04:35PM (#20455653)
    a state legislature that "gets" it...
  • Re:Yes... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pilgrim23 ( 716938 ) on Monday September 03, 2007 @04:41PM (#20455725)
    What is truely sad is that we live in an age of tyrany where such a thing is even concievable. Our masters trust us not...
  • I was just reading another article on Slashdot about Circuit City gestapo tactics, and thought that it is only a matter of time before large monopolistic retailers require their customers to be implanted with RFID tags.

    Tin Foil hat alert? Maybe, maybe not.

  • by Demanche ( 587815 ) <> on Monday September 03, 2007 @04:47PM (#20455827)
    What happens when you decide to leave a company, I guess they have to remove the implant?

    You work two jobs and you end up getting double implants? I wouldn't want this.
  • Re:Yes... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by advocate_one ( 662832 ) on Monday September 03, 2007 @04:49PM (#20455851)
    this comment is telling "Nine senators opposed the measure, including Bob Margett (R-Arcadia), who said it is premature to legislate technology that has not yet proved to be a problem. "It sounded like it was a solution looking for a problem," Margett said. "It didn't seem like it was necessary."" ah yes, not necessary now, but it is necessary to stop you in your tracks from even going down this road in the first place...
  • by sdedeo ( 683762 ) on Monday September 03, 2007 @04:54PM (#20455899) Homepage Journal
    There are two kinds of libertarians []: the ones who recognize only "the government" as a source of oppressive force, and those who realize that any group may become sufficiently powerful as to be able to prevent free exercise of one's natural rights. (The wikipedia article splits libertarians into different subsets, but I believe that my basis here is complete, if not orthogonal.)

    Unfortunately, the former group gets much more press than the latter, and has largely gotten the terminology to refer only to them even among liberty dorks like us. The former group (among many other bizarre positions) would object strongly to a national credit rating system that dictated where and how you could live if it was run by the government, but have no objection against the credit system we have today simply because its officials are unelected. At the risk of igniting a flame war, Noam Chomsky's writings on anarchism should be read by libertarians or simply "people interested in freedom" just as much as Ayn Rand's.

  • Don't be mislead (Score:5, Insightful)

    by samjam ( 256347 ) on Monday September 03, 2007 @05:01PM (#20455963) Homepage Journal
    "Invasion of privacy" is misleading.

    It's only about privacy in a euphemistic way, it's about sovereignty of ones body.

    If it is forbidden on "privacy" grounds, then the privacy grounds can be addressed, resolved, objection removed and then can become a requirement for work/access-to-services etc.

    It should be forbidden because the majority of the population said "No" without having to give a reason.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 03, 2007 @05:04PM (#20456007)
    I was thinking of another group that used to catalog humans. i_camps []

    Ironically, the current people doing this are very well connected to those.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 03, 2007 @05:10PM (#20456079)
    Well, it's not a joke insofar as revelation really does say that. I'm an "evangelical" atheist (I try to convert others to atheism on the weekends, not quite door-to-door, but close) - but I agree with many of the teachings in the bible. Serious distrust of authorities requiring you to have implanted "marks" to function in society is one of several things I wholeheartedly agree with the vampire cultists (christians) on.

  • by click2005 ( 921437 ) on Monday September 03, 2007 @05:11PM (#20456095)
    Fortunately, the Orwellian future isn't here...yet.

    If you wait until the Orwellian future is here then it will be too late to do anything about it.
  • by radarsat1 ( 786772 ) on Monday September 03, 2007 @05:15PM (#20456123) Homepage
    I find this trend somewhat short-sighted. RFID of course has many uses, but it is known to have several vulnerabilities when used for security purposes. I can imagine what some of them are, but I'm not a security researcher so I won't speculate. However, the reliance specifically on surgically embedded RFID chips may fall quite easily into the trap laid by "security by difficulty."

    Most of us agree that "security by obscurity" is a bad thing. Relying on closed code and hidden private keys (cough DRM cough) to ensure security just doesn't work well in the end. However, there is a tendency to have more faith in security which relies entirely on the difficulty of achieving some goal. In the case of mechanical locks, this is quite obvious and locks have been designed this way for centuries, the level of "difficulty" based on current technological knowledge and the known level of skill of lock pickers.

    In software, we see "difficulty" being important for public-key encryption, which is the corner stone of many cryptographic paradigms. The difficulty, in this case, is finding a pair of primes which can be multiplied to get the private key. However, in this case we can use mathematics to formally identify the time required, according to current technology, to perform this calculation. Thus, we can have some very good, provable assurance that a particular algorithm won't be broken by brute force methods. (Until the next technological breakthrough... quantum cryptography? But that, we are told, is assuredly still far in the future..)

    Now, here we have a tendency to embed an identification chip in a person, so that you can be sure that this person is who they say they are. After all, once a chip is embedded surgically, there's no way it can be wrong, right?

    Unfortunately this logic is way too dependent on the current idea that surgery is a difficult thing. Already there exist plastic surgeries that take less than a week to recover from. Even the procedure in question I'm sure is quite minor and takes no time at all. So how does embedding a chip in someone add to the sense of security? It's perfectly imaginable to me that in the near future there will be devices which can easily inject such chips into the skin or remove them without requiring a doctor present at all.

    So that is why I fail to understand this idea. Even after considering the man-in-the-middle attacks and several other ways to break RFID security, I cannot see that relying in surgical implantation will help much in terms of security. You may as well just get a magnetic card reader so that employees can use their ID cards to get in, and be done with it. Relying on surgery or even fingerprints/retina identification will only add to a false sense of security, as any of these can be fooled. And yes, someone eager enough to break into a high-tech workplace to steal data is going to be be smart enough to have thought of several ways to do it before breakfast.

    I'm afraid that when it comes to physical security, people are still better at doing it than machines, and I believe this will be the case for some time.
  • by sdedeo ( 683762 ) on Monday September 03, 2007 @05:15PM (#20456127) Homepage Journal
    I know you're playing Devil's Advocate, but that's a strange notion of "election". Most "elections" that distributed significantly different voting powers to people would not be considered such!

    The idol of the free market is relatively new in libertarian thought (modulo the terminology battles again, of course.) Libertarians you can historically connect with the strands today were around well before robust theories of the free market. I think if you time-translated some of the "founding fathers" you'd find they considered the free market a powerful tool, not a good in itself.

  • by gelfling ( 6534 ) on Monday September 03, 2007 @05:15PM (#20456131) Homepage Journal
    They would not support this kind of 'efficiency'. I'm afraid that in the world, the excuse of using technology because "it's just easier this way" has in fact lead to atrocities that will be remembered for a thousand years.

    It starts out as a labor issue and they tell you it's ok because you don't have to work there. Then they give them to all convicts. Then mental patients, then the ex-sex offenders, then bullshit pot bust people, then the DUIs, then the green card holders then it becomes an automatic step in the arrest process then your car insurance needs it then your health insurance then your bank and still they keep telling you that if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear. And if you don't want to use a bank no one is making you. Then everyone in the armed forces gets one then everyone on the public service payroll then all the welfare recipients, then all the school children, then everyone working for a company that has any government contract, then any passport holder. And whoever's left is corralled into special camps. Trust me, I've seen this before.
  • Re:Yes... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 03, 2007 @05:17PM (#20456155)
    What if ALL of the companies in your field start requiring it?
    Where is your "choice" now?
  • Re:Yes... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ushering05401 ( 1086795 ) on Monday September 03, 2007 @05:28PM (#20456283) Journal
    My question is who pays to have it removed? Say you switch jobs...

    Anyhow, if this tech ever becomes widespread I may turn to a life of crime. IT would just be too easy to tell if anyone were home or not. Just drive up and down the street with a van equipped w/a powerful rfid scanner and voila.

  • Re:Yes... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by purpledinoz ( 573045 ) on Monday September 03, 2007 @05:32PM (#20456341)
    Suppose you're raising two kids, and you need job stability. And your company says that you have to get an RFID chip implanted, or else you're fired. Do you leave your job with a chance that your kids might starve, since you can't get unemployment insurance because you left "voluntarily"? Or do you accept that you have to get tagged like an animal? Although, I can agree for some positions where security is of the utmost importance (perhaps if you have access to nuclear material or something), and the terms are agreed upon before hand...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 03, 2007 @05:38PM (#20456397)
    I think they will see a surge in "volontary implants" in the near future....
    Manager - "Do you like your job ?"
    Worker - "Yes, It is very fullfilling to work with so many geniuses..."
    Manager - "Well...", waving an implant gun, "...would you like to keep it ?"
    Worker - "...I do this volontary...of free will...without any one or anything forcing me..."
  • Re:Yes... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ultranova ( 717540 ) on Monday September 03, 2007 @05:40PM (#20456433)

    Although, I can agree for some positions where security is of the utmost importance (perhaps if you have access to nuclear material or something), and the terms are agreed upon before hand...

    If an RFID tag can be implanted surgically, it can also be removed and re-implanted into someone else. Consequently, it won't provide any extra security against anyone who is willing to steal nuclear materials for presumably nefarious purposes: they simply capture and kill an employee and take the tag from his cold, dead body.

    Sure, you could associate identifying information - fingerprints, faceprints, retina scan, whatever - with the tag, but you could just as easily associate it with normal passcard. No, the only "benefit" from the RFID is that it lets you more easily identify people in casual settings (streets and such). It isn't a security measure, but simply another step towards having everyone tracked 24/7, or in best possible case, just someone's private little power game.

  • Re:Yes... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tomhudson ( 43916 ) <> on Monday September 03, 2007 @05:42PM (#20456449) Journal

    Easier than that - just kill them, dig out the chip, and, with their chip in your pocket so that you are now "them", kill a bunch of other people, dig out their chips, and empty their bank accounts.

    Then put the original chip in a nice pie and send it to your worst enemy. Watch him get blasted away on the evening news.

    (okay, its a bit exaggerated today .... but in 10 years?)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 03, 2007 @06:05PM (#20456651)
    And if companies X, Y and Z agree together to all require them, and are the only companies reachable by you to buy eg. food, you're fucked. And a new company which *doesn't* support them won't appear overnight. Given the pure laziness of the general population, 99% of people would probably prefer an implant to an extra 5 minutes on their shopping trip.

    Free market philosophy falls flat on its face when you introduce the real-world scenarios of monopolies, cartels, and other dirty practices.
  • it's my body (Score:4, Insightful)

    by wikinerd ( 809585 ) on Monday September 03, 2007 @06:19PM (#20456769) Journal
    Employees are not owned by their employers. If being employed means surrendering the sovereignty of your body to an employer by accepting an implant then this equates employees with cattle or sheep that are being tagged for identification before slaughter.
  • Re:Yes... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ElephanTS ( 624421 ) on Monday September 03, 2007 @06:23PM (#20456807)
    Absolutely right. In real terms it provides little more security than an ID card or something. I read somewhere in Asia a rich guy with a state of the art Merc had his finger chopped off when his car was stolen. The car only responded to his fingerprint you see . . .,10117,12711274-1376 2,00.html []
  • by Moraelin ( 679338 ) on Monday September 03, 2007 @06:29PM (#20456863) Journal
    The problem is, it doesn't work like that. If you give the rich and powerful enough unchecked power, freedom of choice is either (A) taken from you, because they make a deal, or (B) meaningless, as it went down a spiral where everyone does the same things.

    As an example of the former, you can see the last centuries of Rome and the introduction of serfdom. The rich clique that formed the senate:

    1. proclaimed themselves not subject to tax

    2. raised taxes on everyone else, especially the free peasants (land was the most common pension for soldiers and recruitment incentive, so they eventually had quite a few) to support the ever increasing costs of warfare and the luxury in Rome

    3. tried to fix prices _and_ devalue the coin, by law. There goes some of your freedom right there, as a free peasant or small landowner: they already tell you what your produce is worth, and it just became half of what you got for it last year.

    4. when people started moving away as a result, they just forbade everyone to move, effectively turning all free peasants into serfs of the empire. In one fell swoop.

    I'm sure those peasants still thought they have a choice before step 3. Unfortunately after step 4 it started going downhill fast, and eventually they were not only tied to the land and taxed, but had to work 3 days a week for the local noble too, and some 15 centuries later it had become 6 days a week and no land of their own at all. In some places (e.g., some Polish revolts were against that), serfs could not only be sold, but also rented by burghers, merchants, whatever. The long and painful slide from a free peasant class back to effective slavery, eh?

    As a _probable_ example of the latter, well, you can learn a lot about what problems a society had, by the laws they give. That Moses forbade working on Sabbath on penalty of _death_, should tell you that they probably had a _major_ problem there. It also gives you the idea that probably nothing else worked, choice be damned.

    At some point, even if you forbid by law to _require_ working on the Sabbath, people will just find weasel ways to require "volunteering" for it. (See the recent EA scandal.) So at some point your choice becomes picking one of X potential employers, all of which require it. You have a choice to take it or starve.

    The death penalty on workers on Sabbath is, if you think about it, the ultimate way to stop asking for it right in its tracks. There is no reward someone can promise you, in exchange for maybe getting stoned to death, and no threat they could use to make anyone accept that. Maybe religion could work to motivate someone to go to death, but here religion is what forbade that in the first place. Basically it attacked the supply side of labour, not the demand side.

    It makes me wonder how bad it had got, at the very least.

    At any rate, sometimes you have to restrict people's "choice" to accept being kicked in the head, because otherwise it can very soon degenerate into something where you have no choice to refuse it.

    Finally, don't get me wrong, I'm not against the rich or capitalism... as such. It's just that when one side has disproportionately more bargaining power and power to subvert the system, at some point you have to restrict what they can do with it. Otherwise, if left unchecked, they'll just figure out a way to turn everyone else into their serfs. See, the Romans again.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 03, 2007 @06:45PM (#20457025)
    It should be forbidden because the majority of the population said ...

    That's a dangerous path to go down, especially when you're dealing with human rights. Do you honest trust "majority opinion" on your natural human right (god-given if you prefer) to complete and total self-ownership?

    (I put "majority opinion" in quotes because we haven't even defined it -- are we talking 51% or 99% here? Or are we talking about voting for a "representative" who ultimately thinks and acts for himself like every other human being? Look closely, and you'll see that we're talking about the difference between arbitrary oppression and individual sovereignty.)
  • Re:Yes... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by New Number Order ( 1150813 ) on Monday September 03, 2007 @06:56PM (#20457107)

    Your choice is to change field and do something else.
    Great, so I get to go from being a skilled worker to being a Wal-Mart greeter or a fry cook. Awesome choice.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 03, 2007 @06:58PM (#20457123)
    spoken like a true intellectual lightweight. if you can't imagine why mandatory tattoos, rfids, and other marks are at odds with individual freedom, then you better start thinking while you still can.
  • Re:Yes... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by This_Is_My_Happening ( 1151393 ) on Monday September 03, 2007 @07:12PM (#20457237)
    Unfortunately I have to agree with Mr. Smith here. In a free-market capitalist society, no one has a 'right' to a job that they want. If the working conditions in one field are unacceptible, you must find a new field or lower your standards.

    It's not nice, but capitalism seldom is nice unless the government steps in and makes some rules (as they are doing here).
  • Re:Yes... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Leftist Troll ( 825839 ) on Monday September 03, 2007 @07:17PM (#20457277)
    In a free-market capitalist society, no one has a 'right' to a job that they want.

    In any decent society, no employer has the right to treat their employees as cattle.
  • Re:Yes... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by LilGuy ( 150110 ) on Monday September 03, 2007 @07:19PM (#20457287)
    That's akin to the online applications that require you to answer everything from your criminal history (with exceptions for some states) to your beliefs and attitudes. It used to be you just didn't apply with that company if you didn't want to go through all the BS, but now it's so widespread you can't get a job at your local grocer without it.
  • Re:Yes... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by This_Is_My_Happening ( 1151393 ) on Monday September 03, 2007 @07:24PM (#20457321)

    In any decent society, no employer has the right to treat their employees as cattle.
    I agree! What we need is more decent societies.
  • Re:Yes... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Colin Smith ( 2679 ) on Monday September 03, 2007 @07:47PM (#20457537)

    It's not nice, but capitalism seldom is nice unless the government steps in and makes some rule
    Actually what happens is that the employer making unreasonable requests loses their best employees who simply go to a competitor, taking their knowledge, experience, contacts with them.

  • Re:Yes... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Leftist Troll ( 825839 ) on Monday September 03, 2007 @07:59PM (#20457693)
    Unlike a cow, an employee can tell the employer to go and take a running jump, as any sane person would.

    That is, assuming they're in a financial position to quit their job, or are so highly in demand in their field, that they can find an equivalent position at a moment's notice.

    That's a rather large assumption to make. You may well be in that position, but what about the millions of people who don't have the advantages you do? Don't they deserve better than being tracked like freight in a supply chain?
  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Monday September 03, 2007 @08:20PM (#20457899)
    This is right in theory, until it becomes impossible to do that due to everyone requiring it.

    Let's go back about 50 years. Back then, it was normal here to get your wage cash on hand at the end of the month. Then gradually checking accounts became usual. And more and more people had them, because they're convenient, and more and more companies realized it's less hassle (and less danger) to simply transfer the money instead of handing out cash.

    Today, you cannot get a job here without an account. You want cash? Why? You don't have an account? Sorry, but no job for you. No kidding. No account, no job.

    It's a big problem for homeless people here. You don't have a home, you won't get an account. No account, no job. No job, no money to rent an apartment (not to mention that you pretty much need an account to rent one, too). A bank here actually started a service for homeless, sponsored by the city, to get them back onto their feet.

    Crazy? Sure, but gradually, piece by piece, we got there. Think it's so impossible that the same might happen with tagging? Today a company requires it, tomorrow you need it to get a passport, then to get a bank account, and you need a bank account... you get the idea.
  • Re:Yes... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by tklarsen ( 1151535 ) on Monday September 03, 2007 @08:40PM (#20458069)
    It is also sad that as employees, individuals are forced to work in an environment which would require such a thing. It is the ultimate invasion of privacy.
  • Re:Yes... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by PhoenixOne ( 674466 ) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @12:55AM (#20460137)

    An invasion of privacy for sure, but not the ultimate.

    Having a human "watcher" follow you around all day, taking notes on your behavior would be far worse than an ID tag.

    I'm not saying I like the idea, just that it *could* be worse.

  • Re:Yes... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by DDLKermit007 ( 911046 ) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @01:18AM (#20460327)
    At least they'd have to pay someone to do such a thing (cost benefit isn't there), I would know when it's happening usually, and it doesn't involve injecting something into my body.
  • by Moraelin ( 679338 ) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @01:53AM (#20460549) Journal

    Yes, how history does repeat. The downside is that until there was a significant drop population, that bubonic plague thing, there was no positive change for the commoner. Once there were not enough serfs to till the fields or serve as Men at Arms, conditions leveled out for all.

    That's very insightful, but unfortunately, it's even worse than that. (If one can really say worse than the plague.)

    1. Not for all. Eastern Europe, for example, was already sparsely populated enough that the plagues had no major impact. So there serfdom continued to be a downwards slide until the 19'th century. I've already given the example of Poland, but things got even worse in Russia, for example.

    2. It took some very bloody revolts to really get a positive change, even with the plague. The ruling class didn't just start giving better salaries and conditions when western Europe depopulated. The first (and second and third) attempt again was to fix prices and try to force everyone to work more for less pay, so they can keep their luxury and privileges with less population.

    As an example of it, in England and France which were having a jolly good 100 years war, the first effect of the population halving was that the levies on each peasant doubled.
  • Re:Yes... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Znork ( 31774 ) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @03:14AM (#20461005)
    To quote the grandfather of free-market capitalism:

    "Whenever the legislature attempts to regulate the differences between masters and their workmen, its counsellors are always the masters. When the regulation, therefore, is in favour of the workmen, it is always just and equitable; but it is sometimes otherwise when in favour of the masters." -- Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations, Book 1 Chapter 10

    Free market capitalism does not require blind acceptance of any working conditions, in fact, abuse that potentially damages workers or reduces their motivation, capacity and desire for work damages the very engine of wealth creation in society, ruining the greatest asset the economy has.

    Adam Smith most certainly recognized the disparity in power between employers and employees, and while there are a whole lot of people who like to twist the idea of free market capitalism into an anything-goes feast for the new aristocracy and corporate owners, the fact is that the state has many legitimate roles in a free market. As long as it stays away from protecting the owners and investors from competition.
  • by Moraelin ( 679338 ) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @03:25AM (#20461053) Journal
    That's somewhat inaccurate, though:

    1. Roman "democracy" was by and large a democracy of the rich. When they voted on anything, the entire population of Rome was divided into 193 centuries, by economic class, and they voted by century. One vote per century. And 98 centuries were made of the senators and the equites. So they may have had a lot of poor, but the rich had the majority of votes by definition. Furthermore, voting stopped completely when they had a majority of 97 centuries either for or against, so quite routinely the poorest never had a chance to cast any vote.

    That's democracy of the rich for you, seriously.

    2. You have to remember that welfare and populism were limited to the city of Rome itself. No more, no less. If you wanted to vote to tax Egypt or the Gaul to hand out more bread in Rome, everyone would be for it.

    Fixing prices for the peasants outside Rome to give cheap bread to the plebs in Rome would have been insanely popular at any point.

    3. The only political office I can remember offhand that _required_ one to be a plebeian, was the Tribune Of The Plebs. The requirement seemed to be very flexible however. Remember that Octavian Augustus, among the many titles he accumulated in one hand as Imperator was also a Tribune Of The Plebs. If you can genuinely believe that he was a poor commoner, I have some logging rights to sell in Sahara. They were also routinely bribed by the rich.

    4. The late Western Roman Empire was more... weird. Not everything you learned about the peak of the republic still applied. They had increasingly deranged emperors, the praetorian guard started installing and removing emperors itself, they had a _major_ civil war over who gets to be Augustus (emperor) and who gets to be Caesar (vice-emperor) in the tetrarchy, etc. Basically the Western Roman Empire in the 3-4th century AD isn't quite what you've learned about the Roman Republic.

    5. Well, just because some people argue nonsense, it doesn't mean they can really rewrite history. What happened, well, already happened, whether the right-wing think-tanks like it or not. Plus, there are a lot of people who are disillusioned with the present and retreat in some rose-tinted illusion that the past was some gentle and noble utopia. (And I don't mean only in modern times, but also see the Renaissance.) Unfortunately, it never really was that great. Even more unfortunately, that sanitized illusion makes them easy to manipulate by those think-tanks I've already mentioned.

    And yes, I'm not surprised that the rich in the USA, who want more political power for themselves, would try to paint it that way. "See, giving us more power is good, giving power to the poor is bad." It's only expected, I guess. Unfortunately that's not what actually happened in the real history.
  • Re:Yes... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by PhoenixOne ( 674466 ) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @03:49AM (#20461147)

    All true. I'm just saying that getting chipped isn't the "ultimate invasion of privacy".

    Much in that same way as getting kicked in the balls isn't the "ultimate level of pain", but it still sucks.

  • Re:Yes... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Tom ( 822 ) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @04:11AM (#20461301) Homepage Journal
    Welcome to the real world, things work a bit different here then wherever you come from.

    Employee "choice" is largely non-existent. The relation between employees and employers is not one between peers, so a level playing field only exists if the weaker side gets some protection.

    Finally, there are many good arguments to limit what can be done, irrespective of "choice".

  • by Dr_Barnowl ( 709838 ) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @05:19AM (#20461591)
    * Mass communications subordinate to the government

    It's no secret that the media is increasingly controlled by a few dominant business interests. Neither is it a secret that government is increasingly controlled by business interests.

      * Television the major means of thought control

    This has been true for as long as I can remember - television is for now, the most powerful mass-populace informational tool. In those areas where the media is controlled by business interests, television is the media they want to control the most. This could be why they hate internet radio so much.

      * Population controlled by perpetual war and its attending material shortages

    Raised oil prices have a knock-on effect on every aspect of the world economy. There's also outsourcing and automation, which could be viewed as a domestic kind of war against the workers of the Western nations. The beauty of these approaches versus full-scale conventional war is that it has all the advantages (creation of a new poor working class to repress, nice exploitation opportunities for companies) and few of the disadvantages (full-scale war disrupting the market for consumer products, risk of nuclear strike, etc).

      * The war ends when the government says it does (i.e. - never)

    Not only is "terrorism" a nebulous concept rather than a nation state, or a particular ethnic group, engaging in a war against it has the happy side effect that for each terrorist you squash, you are helping "them" to recruit more. It could last forever, and I suspect that could be the intent.

    Now, is all this a conspiracy, or just emergent behaviour which is a natural outcome of capitalism? I think the latter. But whichever it is, the social system we have sucks for allowing it to happen.
  • Re:Yes... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Tom ( 822 ) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @02:51PM (#20467851) Homepage Journal

    Nobody is forcing them to work where implants are required, there's plenty of other places to work for the people to chose from, if they don't like it, they can go work somewhere else.
    I stand by my "real world" comment.

    Unemployment rates are high in the western world, and that ignores the fact that most published numbers are average. My company has a branch in one city where unemployment is just short of 20%. If you are not one of the few people with knowledge and/or experience that is actually in demand, you do not have the choice to "go work somewhere else". Your choice is more along the lines of living on unemployment money or moving someplace else where there might be jobs - if you can afford to move, that is.

    I work in a position where I have first-hand experience of just how these things work. A lot of the people who ask me for advise would like to quit, except that they can't afford to do it. They've got a car, or a house, that they need to pay, and being unemployed for even a few months might mean losing that.

    Now tell me, when you have to choose between you and your family becoming homeless, and getting an implant - how much "choice" do you really have?

    Can you even answer that question? Do you support a family?

    implants are no different than requiring that employees follow a dress code.
    Except that you can remove your company dress when you go home, at weekends, or when you quit. You can not seriously believe that doesn't make a massive difference.
  • Re:Yes... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Tom ( 822 ) on Wednesday September 05, 2007 @02:03AM (#20475363) Homepage Journal

    How the hell does 90% of the country end up being so far in debt and vulnerable to being jobless even for a few months?
    Again, you ignore reality. Anything of this kind (i.e. that causes resistance) is introduced to those who can fight back the least first. Do you think managers or even department heads will be chipped first? Do you really believe the first to receive a mandatory (aka "or you can work somewhere else") implant will be the important thinking people that actually can leave?

    I deal with the CEO and HR-head level daily. I think I have a fairly good understanding of how they think and work. The uncomfortable, bad things are never introduced at the top, always at the bottom.

    Legislation aside, the fact that we are afraid to come to terms with our debt only means that the debt is too high!
    Once again I come back to my "real world" comment. Over here, a house costs a quarter to half a million Euros. That is way more than any normal person has in their savings account. The only way to realistically buy a house is on mortgage. If you put your mortgage rates so low that you can pay them for, say, half a year from your savings, that means accumulated interests will make it twice as expensive. The longer you pay, the lower the monthly rate, the more expensive it gets, all in all.
    So you put the rate at something that you can still afford even if your income falls or your expenses rise. But there is no possible way you can pay a mortgage from unemployment benefits, for example.

    I think that most people being able to fuck off for a few months and still not starve would scare any employer out of pushing big-brother tactics much better than legislation.
    Absolutely. That's why I am a big fan of the various base income proposals. (not sure what the proper english term is, the basic idea being that every citizen gets a fixed income per month, no matter what he does or even if he does anything. No conditions. Not on top of unemployment benefits or other social stuff, but replacing it. Can be re-financed easily by a tax reform.)

    Obviously, that's also why much of big business is lobbying against it. The official reason they give being that it's too expensive. The real reason - well, we both know it.

"It ain't over until it's over." -- Casey Stengel