Chipping In?

Hand with digital images
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We microchip our pets. Looks like it’s time to microchip our people.

Human chip tracking systems have arrived. This technology is already implanted, implemented and being used in the workplace around the world.

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From the perspective of a ‘bio-hacker,’ the introduction of a microchip under the skin for employees seems to be a logical thing. An implanted RFID appears to make a human’s work-life easier by allowing for automatic interaction with numerous electronic devices. Employees can access the ‘internet of things’ without needing to remember passcodes in their brains or carry key-cards on their persons. Opening locked doors, turning on the computer or accessing a code-only photocopier now requires a simple swipe of one’s hand near the device and, presto, it works! It works because each microchip is coded with the individual employee’s personal identification.

Bio-devices such as microchips can measure and track anything and anyone.

This is where the ethical boundaries may start to become a bit fuzzy. If an implanted microchip is used by employees to access employer devices, it surely can be used by the employer to access and track employee behaviour.

When our pets get lost, they can be found thanks to microchip technology. When an employee is ‘lost,’ or absent from work for an unknown reason, will an employer resist the temptation to track the absent employee’s whereabouts through similar human microchip technology?

As HR professionals, we need to be ready to deal with the moral and ethical impact of this type of interactive and intrusive technology, today.

After all, we will be swiping open the doors to a very brave new world, tomorrow.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What types of employee tracking would benefit an employer using human microchip technology to monitor the workforce?
  2. Would you agree to have a microchip implanted in your hand as a condition of employment? Why or why not?
  3. What types of benefits are there for employees to have implanted microchip technology?