The microchip has always been a powerful tool. Whether allowing us to use a computer or microwave a burrito, the microchip does it all. It’s no surprise that the microchip is causing quite a stir, although recently, not in a good way. The workplace could become a lot more invasive if the trend of microchipping employees gains traction.
This, of course, has caused widespread debate across North America. The chip is length and width of a grain of rice, and to most people, implanting it in the palm of their hand seems to be a no brainier. It promises easy access to computers, security checkpoints, and pretty much anything else that would ever require a key card or passcode.
In 2004, the Mexican government required its attorney generals to get chips implanted. No chip, no job. This was done in an effort to regulate their access to secret documents and secure materials. The chips also (perhaps inadvertently) allowed the police to keep tabs on government employees suspicious of corrupt activity, or in some cases, to confirm where and what a person was doing in order to verify an alibi.
More recently, there has been wide scale success for office-based companies in Sweden that have been implanting chips into employees on a volunteer basis. There have been no reports of complications due to the procedure, nor has there been foul play or reported mismanagement of the technology. So why is there even a debate regarding its use in North America?
Alan Carte, a software programmer, may be able to answer that question.
Carte originally loved the idea of being implanted with a RFID chip.
“I thought it would be great … I wouldn't have to worry about forgetting passwords, losing my I.D. card. I was psyched,” says Carte. That all changed when he became aware of the monitoring potential.
Carte had been working as a code debugger at the David Bradley Research Institute when he came across some startling information. He discovered that the RFID chip he had in his keycard, the very one he considered implanting in himself, was not just allowing his employers to track him at work but even measure the amount of times he entered each room.
“They had a record of how many times I had gone to the bathroom,” he exclaimed.
Now, he has concerns about his and his fellow employees’ right to privacy. He worries that we will fall victim to an Orwellian policy and that chips implanted into people is the first step in the total loss of privacy.
“At work my solution was to just leave my key card at my desk when I went to the break room or restroom, but I can't do that if I'm forced to get a chip implant.”
His concerns are becoming a reality and have been voiced by others, like the employees of security firm citywatchers.com.They are pushing to microchip their employees, who are now coming forward in fear of constant surveillance but at the same time trying not to lose their jobs.
“I can relate to them,” says Carte.
He knows in an ever growing technological world, more and more companies will be tagging their employees. Carte even explains that he understands why companies would want to keep an eye on what their workers are doing.
“I know they just want to make everything more efficient and easy,” he goes on to say, “but until they can guarantee that their data on me won't be leaked or used for any other purpose, I'm going to pass on the microchipping.”
The future of micro chippingis definitely uncertain, and if security technology evolves beyond its current point, the use of microchips in place of virtual security checkpoints will be an uneasy reality.
The newest security measures of the modern work world have been revealed: microchipping employes. Has this happened before, what are the implications, and what does this mean for the future? We ask a software programmer.