15 Nov 2018
A leading British trade union is calling for the government to change laws in order to protect employees from ‘excessive surveillance’ following revelations that financial and other firms in the United Kingdom have started fitting their employees with microchips.
The development comes amid concerns that bosses could use the technology to control and micromanage workers.
Proponents of the technology claim it will improve security in the work place, with talk of the process replacing traditional IDs to enter work places or access confidential information.
A leading British industry body, as well as a main trade union, however, have expressed strong feelings about the development, with the latter warning it could create problems instead.
In an emailed statement, Frances O’Grady of the Trade Union Congress said: “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.”
She added: “The law needs to change too, so that workers are better protected against excessive and intrusive surveillance.”
The technology involves implanting tiny chips with data, some the size of a grain of rice, in the body, usually the hand.
Employees at a bank have started testing the technology, according to the Guardian, which also said that a Hampshire-based microchip firm has issued some of its 150 implants to workers at UK financial and engineering companies.
An executive at another microchip firm, which is understood to be having discussions about the technology with British financial and legal firms, reportedly said it would improve security.
“These companies have sensitive documents they are dealing with. [The chips] would allow them to set restrictions for whoever,” he said, adding that it could save firms with hundreds of thousands of employees from requiring physical IDs.
– Irene Madongo
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