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More Companies Are Chipping Their Workers Like Pets

When we implant microchips into our pets, it's to find them if they become lost, because dogs and cats are unable to tell someone their address. Chipping humans, on the other hand, opens up an entirely different can of worms. Implanting an ID chip under an employee's skin is becoming more and more common among tech companies. The chips can control door locks, time logs, and even vending machine purchases. A worker will never forget her work ID, but neither can she go anywhere without it.  

Yet the first US company to inject workers with tracking chips was a Cincinnati surveillance firm in 2006, which required all employees working in its secure data center to have RFIDs implanted in their triceps. Coming from a spying company, it's almost like asking if you'd like your Orwell with a little Orwell on top. California in 2007 swiftly moved to block companies from being able to make RFID implants mandatory, as well as blocking the chipping of students in the state.

Don't get me wrong: becoming a cyborg sounds pretty awesome. It's a fairly popular pastime for DEF CON attendees who like their hackery edge-play to get a souvenir implant while at the conference. But those people are hackers, and they know what they're getting into. And I'm just that annoying person worried about normal people not knowing how they can get pwned, and who has a few irritating questions about personal security and privacy.

What could possibly go wrong? The indications are that chipped employees are fine with it, citing convenience, but that's a self-selected group that opted into those programs. Pets don't have to worry about data skimmers finding their employee IDs or direct deposit information, or stalkers finding their home address. Read about employee chip programs at Engadget. -via Digg 

(Image credit: Koren Shadmi)


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