“The big news on Conspiracy Street in late July 2017 was that Three Square Market, a Wisconsin company claimed they had 50 employees – half the workforce – agree voluntarily to have ‘rice-sized’ microchips embedded in the fleshy bit between thumb and index finger.”
I wrote those words for TheDailyConspiracy.com just over two years ago and cautioned against the health and privacy risks associated with the untested practice:
“Personal health issues aside, employee voluntary chipping programs might be trending today, but what happens tomorrow? New corporate policy says get chipped or get fired?”
Now, major companies in the United Kingdom are preparing to insert microchips into certain staff members, claiming the embedded radio frequency (RF) transmitters will bolster security and prevent unauthorized access to restricted areas.
Biohax, the Swedish human microchip provider, has been negotiating with several British legal and financial companies that staff “hundreds of thousands of employees.”
Jowan Österlund, the founder of Biohax and a former professional body piercer, defended the needed for the pending lucrative contracts:
“[The chips] would allow them to set restrictions for whoever.”
The human microchips are described as being about as big as a grain of rice but are, in fact, slightly bigger. A technician inserts the electronic device below the skin’s surface by injecting it with a specialized hypodermic needle.
Once in place, theradiating pellicule is always on, allowing the bearer to unlock physical doors, logon to computers, and purchase items at the company cafeteria with the wave of a hand:
“The tiny chips, implanted in the flesh between the thumb and forefinger, are similar to those for pets. They enable people to open their front door, access their office or start their car with a wave of their hand, and can also store medical data.”
Every transaction is logged and stored by the computerized microchip monitoring system, leaving a trail of digital footprints. Although employers claim they won’t track employee activities outside of work hours, there is nothing to prevent them from doing so. Employers are also able to hand over a worker’s chip data to law enforcement officials upon demand.
In the UK, trade unions and employers are banding together to oppose implanting employees with microchips on the grounds that such corporate policies violate workers’ rights. The British Trades Union Congress (TUC) and the Confederation of British Industry (CBI, the main body that represents 190,000 national businesses) have protested chipping workers as if they were dumb animals.
A CBI spokesperson stated:
“While technology is changing the way we work, this makes for distinctly uncomfortable reading. Firms should be concentrating on rather more immediate priorities and focusing on engaging their employees.”
Frances O’Grady, the general secretary of TUC, worried, as I did two years ago, that microchips empower the employer to the disadvantage of their underlings:
“We know workers are already concerned that some employers are using tech to control and micromanage, whittling away their staff’s right to privacy. Microchipping would give bosses even more power and control over their workers. There are obvious risks involved, and employers must not brush them aside, or pressure staff into being chipped.”
Hampshire-based BioTeq has implanted 150 people to date, most of them individuals rather than employees, according to the company’s founder and owner Steven Northam. BioTeq admitted to implanting employees of a bank testing the chips and has exported them to Spain, France, Germany, Japan, and China.
Northam, all the BioTeq directors, as well as those at another of his companies, IncuHive, have received chips.
BioTeq charges between £70-260 ($92-342) per person chipped. Biohax sells theirs for £150 ($197). Multiply these amounts by hundreds, thousands or hundreds of thousands of recipients and it’s easy to understand why chipping is popular among newly-emerging international product and service providers.
In an ironic twist, microchips are easily hacked, thus defeating their intended purpose to promote security.
Ian Sherr, an executive editor at CNET, objected to the fact that microchips are always on and never sleep, unlike their human hosts:
“This is serious stuff. We’re talking about a nonstop potential connection to my body and I can’t turn it off, I can’t put it away, it’s in me. That’s a big problem.”
Tech conference attendee Hannes Sjöblad, a self-described biohacker who sports his own chip, which uses “many times a day” to unlock his smartphone and open his office door, cautioned:
“It’s very easy to hack a chip implant, so my advice is don’t put your life secrets on an implant.”
A study from the European Parliament’s Directorate-General for Internal Policies raised even more ethical red flags when it revealed that an employer can change how the chip operates without informing the employee:
“Furthermore, the chips can be reprogrammed within the body, altering their use and purpose from that initially agreed and consented to.”
Finally, no one seems to be talking much about what happens when a chipped employee leaves a company. Who will pay the cost of removing the chip? What if there are health complications during dechipping, especially if the device moves away from the initial implant site?
Once again, advanced technology is surging ahead of legal regulations. Employers are taking advantage of the situation at a time when workers’ rights are dwindling.