Implanting microchips in humans

July 28, 2017
by Mark Ollig

To chip or not to chip: that is the question.

My first thought was, “This is only supposed to happen to the people living in the distant future.”

Apparently, we are now living in that distant future.

A company located in Wisconsin will be implanting a micro-computing chip device inside the hands of some 50 employees.

It should be noted, these employees volunteered to have the microchip implant.

The computing chip, which uses wireless communication, will be physically imbedded beneath the skin area between the employee’s thumb and forefinger.

Let’s be clear; a microchip, an electronic device about the size of a grain of rice, is to be implanted (injected) under the skin of a human being for no medical or legal reason.

The chip’s purpose is to more quickly (and perhaps more securely) purchase a product, by waving the chipped hand in front of a scanner instead of swiping a credit card, or using a wireless NFC (Near Field Communication) equipped smartphone.

In addition to using the chip implant for making purchases; chipped employees will be able to wave their chipped hand in front of the keyless door entry of their company’s building to gain access.

Also, instead of typing their username and password to log into the company computer, an employee will wave their chip-embedded hand over its identification scanner and be granted access.

In what I assume was an attempt to alleviate fears of tracking the location of a chipped employee 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the CEO of the company is quoted as saying, “There’s no GPS tracking at all.”

Maybe he should have added “for the time being,” because I feel, implanting electronic chips in employees is opening a big ol’ can of worms.

I understand the reasoning of a dermal implant of a microchip when a person is under a doctor’s care; the implant is used for medical purposes to treat the patient.

Another related exception is when a court orders a prisoner or parolee to have a tracking device attached to their person.

Imagine if employers get the legal green light, allowing them to require employees to be “chipped” as part of their agreement to employment.

What kinds of data could an employer, insurance, or other company or government agency potentially collect about individuals?

I’ve got to hope we’re not going down a road which eventually leads to the compulsory implanting of a microchip inside all of us.

I’m no constitutional lawyer, but would this not constitute an invasion of personal privacy?

If this moves from voluntary, to obligatory chipping of employees; which I am greatly concerned about, expect the Supreme Court to rule on a final decision.

I’ll attempt a bit of levity; once voters are chipped, they could cast their vote simply by waving their hand over the candidate of their choice.

Here’s a campaign slogan: “One Chip – One Vote!”

I digress.

A few years ago, I wrote how all electronic appliances, machines, automobiles, planes, machining tools, and every other type of gadget, will eventually be embedded with an IP address, connected to the internet, and become part of the IoT (Internet of Things) network.

As we know, IoT devices can be tracked, their operating status monitored, and their data gleaned and analyzed by software for the purposes of improving their operation and productiveness within the sphere of their influence.

Analysis resulting in corrections or modifications of each individual IoT device ensures it will operate to its maximum potential; enhancing its value for the benefit of a corporation and/or society as a whole.

Is it humanity’s fate to eventually become physically a part of the IoT community?

Today’s topic reminded me of the “Star Trek” episode, “Patterns of Force,” where Kirk and Spock are implanted with a small “subcutaneous transponder” in their wrists before beaming down to a planet. If they were unable to use their communicators, Scotty could immediately locate and beam them back to the Enterprise.

It would not surprise me if airline travelers are offered a chip implant to guarantee quick passage through airport Transportation Security Administration check-in stations.

It would be interesting to interview some of those 50 Wisconsin employees six months from now, and learn of their experiences and thoughts of being chipped.

And so, dear readers, we’re now discussing the pros and cons of implanting folks with microchips.

Welcome to the distant future.

My tweets are not chipped; however, they are archived. Follow me on Twitter at @bitsandbytes.

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