We were recently stunned to learn that a Cincinnati, Ohio video surveillance firm required that employees who work in its secure data center area must submit to a subdermal Radio Frequency ID (RFID) chip implant.
The RFID chip is manufactured by VeriChip and measures 12 mm by 2.1 mm, with its primary feature being the identification and tracking by radio frequency broadcast of those implanted with the chip. While the year 1984 has come and gone, the chilling predictions of loss of individuality in George Orwell’s book, “1984,” are alive and well with this kind of news.
The company reportedly had a physician inject two of its employees in the arm with the VeriChip in a glass-encapsulated RFID tag. The chip is being touted as a way for employees to access top security areas, provide an instant link to their own medical records and for these employees to be able to make purchases with the information embedded like a credit card.
However, there is a small problem – the Verichip can be vulnerable to hacking by hackers cloning a chip and possibly duplicating the information from the wearer of the chip. The other problem we see is that this technology is being experimented with on human employees by a private company that is a government contractor specializing in surveillance camera videos for the City of Cincinnati.
There is a tremendous invasion of privacy that is presented by the concept of an implanted device that tracks human activity, and the requirement that wearing it 24x7 as part of one’s job seems way over the top with “Big Brother really is watching you” implications.
And what about removal of these implants? While the chips are injected into the human body fairly easily, removal of them requires surgery with a scalpel and it is not a simple procedure. Who wants to be threatened with loss of their job if they refuse to get an implant? Who wants to be “punished” for not getting an implant if everyone else agrees to do so based on the promise of a bonus? The implications are ugly and so is the impact on everyone’s privacy.