The microchipping of employees has been in the news recently. This development needs to be banned from the outset by Government, to avoid coercion from employers, the appalling risks to health, and the unacceptable intrusion into employee privacy.
No employer can force an employee to have a microship implanted into them. Consent is required. However, without legislation to ban employers from seeking to implant microschips, the scope for coercion of various kinds is considerable. After all, there is nothing to otherwise stop potential employers from making job offers subject to providing consent to be microchipped. Furthermore, there is also scope for unscrupulous employers to dismiss employees on some pretext or other where consent is refused during the first two years of employment, where employees have no right to bring a claim for unfair dismissal (unless the situation falls into one of the exceptions to the 2 year rule). Moreover, regardless of length of service, employees will always have fears as to their career and promotion prospects should they refuse to provide consent. A complete ban is the only effective way of preventing such coercion from arising.
As implanting microchips has never been done before, there is no absolute guarantee that there is no risk to health posed. There are many examples of medicines, medical procedures, and activities in other areas of life, that were once thought safe, that only many decades later were discovered to present a major risk to health. Indeed, tobacco, mercury, asbestos, LSD, radioactive drinks, heroin based cough suppressants, cocaine based medicines, were all thought at the outset to be perfectly safe. Only later were they discovered to pose a major risk to health, all too late for the many who had in effect become unsuspecting guinea pigs with fatal consequences. The jury is still out on the potentially harmful effects of mobile phone use, and it is likely that the true impact will not be known for several decades yet. Hence, no absolute guarantees whatsoever can be provided by anybody that implanted microchips are safe. Indeed, several studies carried out in relation to the microchipping of animals have found a high incidence of malignant/cancerous tumours in the area where the microchip was implanted. In response to this research, the founder and director of Caspian Consumer Privacy, Dr. Katherine Albrecht stated that “this kind of negative publicity spells the beginning of the end for…[microchipping]… and their plans to chip us all like barcoded packages of meat. In our research we found that between one and ten percent of laboratory animals implanted with radio frequency microchips developed cancer adjacent to and even surrounding the microchips. Pacemakers can also cause cancer, but in a case of a pacemaker where the alternative is literally dying, it is worth the risk. However, in a case of something like an identification microchip or dosages of drugs being delivered to the body, that does not make any sense. Most people would prefer to simply take those drugs themselves than run the risk of an implant.” Moreover, the FDA recently stated that they are still investigating “concerns” about the effects of RIFD chips “on medical devices”. Given all this, then it would be completely irresponsible for the Government to fail to place a ban on the microchipping of employees by employers.
Gross Intrusion Into Privacy
The microchipping of employees also represents a gross intrusion into the privacy of employees. After all, part of the reason for implanting the microchip is to monitor what the employee is up to. However, the microship cannot be disconnected at the end of the day, and there are no guarantee that unscrupulous employers will not continue to monitor their employees outside of working hours. Indeed, there is nothing to stop employers linking the microchip to GPS, and monitoring their employees on a permanent 24/7 basis. That level of intrusion is completely unacceptable. Moreover, the regularity of data leaks these days means that there is guarantee that the data acquired via the microchip will not be leaked. Furthermore, there is considerable scope for hackers to hack in to microchip itself, and monitor the employee on a 24/7 real time basis.
The CBI And The TUC Warn Of The Risks
The general secretary of the TUC, Frances O’Grady, states: “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.”
A spokesperson for the CBI added: “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.“