When biometrics was introduced as a way to avoid buddy punching, and thus, replace time and attendance swipe card technology, many thought these data collectors were part of a futurist Star Trek movie. Fast forward to some decades later and recent news that a company was about to microchip its entire workforce has privacy advocates scratching their heads in frustration.
Here is a description from the company, who has decided to deploy the technology to throughout its workforce;
“Three Square Market (32M) is offering implanted chip technology to all of their employees on August 1st, 2017. Employees will be implanted with a RFID chip allowing them to make purchases in their break room micro market, open doors, login to computers, use the copy machine, etc. This program, offered by 32M, is optional for all employees. The company is expecting over 50 staff members to be voluntarily chipped. 32M is partnering with BioHax International and Jowan Osterland, CEO, based out of Sweden.
RFID technology or Radio-Frequency Identification uses electromagnetic fields to identify electronically stored information. Often referred to as “chip” technology, this option has become very popular in the European marketplace. The chip implant uses near-field communications (NFC); the same technology used in contactless credit cards and mobile payments. A chip is implanted between the thumb and forefinger underneath the skin within seconds.”
The reaction to employees being microchipped has been swift with labour experts and lawmakers citing privacy concerns and appealing to HR professionals to proceed with caution. One lawmaker in the state of Nevada has introduced legislation to prevent companies forcing employees to get microchipped as condition of their employment.
So will the idea of microchipping employees gain widespread acceptance? Only time will tell.
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