Alarm over microchip injections for UK workers

Give me a hand: US software company, Three Square Market, started microchipping some employees in 2017.

Is this exciting or a nightmare? Hundreds of workers across the world have been fitted with chips that can store personal data. Some fear a new era of surveillance.

What’s happening

A tiny microchip, as small as a grain of rice, is implanted beneath your skin. With the wave of a hand you can unlock your front door, pay for meals, hop on a train without a ticket and log on to your computer. This is already the reality for thousands of workers in Sweden and at least 150 in the UK.

Find out more

The chips in question are similar to those used to identify pets. They cost up to £260 per person.

Soon, they could be a lot more common. A Swedish company called Biohax is in talks with multiple British companies to offer microchips to workers. One of those firms has hundreds of thousands of employees.

The Biohax founder says the chips can be used to restrict who is allowed to read sensitive documents.

The potential uses of microchips go far beyond security. Storing identification in your body could end the need for passports or credit cards. A chip could also carry vital medical information in case you are in an accident. However, some fear they will be used to track workers’ movements and invade their privacy.

Should we be excited or scared?

Some say…

We should be excited! The current chips do not track your location and they are not active most of the time. It is not so different from being asked to carry a company phone, which has been fairly common for years. In fact, our smartphones probably know more about us than these chips do. If they make life easier, then where is the harm?

Others think…

It is scary and dystopian. Bosses will get more power and control over workers. They may get the ability to track the location and behaviour of their employees at all times. This is ripe for exploitation. Besides, what if criminals hack the information, or clone chips to impersonate people? We should stop the technology before it gets out of hand.

You Decide

  1. Would you agree to be microchipped?

Activities

  1. Try to think of your own piece of futuristic technology that could transform the modern world. If you are unsure, think about small but annoying things that could be changed. Make a poster explaining and advertising your invention.

Some People Say...

“Technology is a useful servant, but a dangerous master.”

Christian Lous Lange (1869-1938), Norwegian historian

What do you think?

Word Watch

Microchip
A very small computer circuit that can be embedded under the skin.
Implanted
Inserted into a body.
Restrict
Limit or control.
Sensitive
Secret or delicate, not for common knowledge.
Potential
Possible.
Dystopian
An imaginary world in which everything is bad.
Exploitation
Unfairly using something or someone for your own benefit.
Impersonate
Pretend to be someone you are not.

Subjects

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