Some people are ok with their government having the authority to install computer microchips in their bodies. The benefits, some perceive, are numerous. For example, the tracking device could be used to locate lost children, kidnapped victims, criminals, and fugitives, or someone who has wandered off, including those with special needs.
The chips could (and in some instances, already have), be used as substitutes for credit cards, passports, identification, medical information, door entries– the list is endless.
Opponents of government mandated chip implants are concerned about privacy issues. They worry about “Big Government” tracking our every move. There is substantial merit to this fear. Already, those with smart phones are broadcasting their exact whereabouts at all times: But the purchase of a cell phone is a voluntary act, not subject to government requirement.
The potential for government abuse is of great concern, but several identification policies are currently in place. Categories of people are required by law to submit their DNA samples or fingerprints upon conviction of serious crimes; facial identification is presently occurring: Law enforcement, casinos, and other businesses routinely capture facial images to identify customers and criminals with a record: Each of these entities draw from data bases that have been assimilated over years.
As one columnist for the Chicago Tribune surmises: “If Americans are all implanted with chips, we could control immigration, we could vote more quickly, even in the primaries, and our wise masters would know how we voted.
If Americans became chippers, we’d pay our taxes more efficiently. We might even receive much social praise and tax credits too, for allowing independent experts to check our bio-rhythms against what we read online to measure our reactions to subversive ideas.”
OUR FREE OPINION
We have no beef with the use of modern technology for legitimate purposes. Those convicted of a serious felony forfeit their right to privacy by their conduct: Therefore, the collection of DNA samples and the storage of this information in national databases seems appropriate. Moreover, fingerprints and DNA profiles are not used for tracking purposes.
Our concern is the passage of any law that permits surgical implantation of GPS chips for citizens who have not forfeited their right to privacy—this includes the vast majority of Americans.
Voluntary placement of chips within the body also surpasses our concerns over Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments rights to privacy. We assume that removal of the chips would not require invasive medical procedures.
Therefore, we are adamantly opposed to any law that requires the implanting of devices in the human body absent consent, or for those who have forfeited their right to privacy. But even for the latter category of individuals, we would insist that a court order, following a due process hearing, is required ahead of time and that the device is subject to later removal. In this regard, we are mindful of external GPS devices that defendants are already required to wear in some circumstances.