Trade Unions Congress fearful of implanting workers with tracking chips

Microchips implanted into workers could hand more power and control to employers, TUC says

Close up of a chip held by tweezers

The UK's largest employer organisation has expressed concern over proposed talks with technology companies to embed microchips into workers.

The chips, which are the size of a grain of rice and implanted in the flesh between thumb and forefinger, are said to improve security, but the Trade Unions Congress (TUC) said it potentially risks hand more control over to employers.

X-ray of an implanted chip - courtesy of BioTech

Advertisement - Article continues below

"We know workers are already concerned that some employers are using tech to control and micromanage, whittling away their staff's right to privacy," said TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady.

"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."

O'Grady added that employers should always discuss and agree on workplace monitoring policies with their workforces.

"Unions can negotiate agreements that safeguard workers' privacy, while still making sure the job gets done. But the law needs to change too so that workers are better protected against excessive and intrusive surveillance," O'Grady said. 

One of the companies to offer the chips is UK based BioTeq. The chips are similar to those used for pets, but they enable people to operate security systems, such as car and office doors with the wave of a hand, much like contactless payments.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below
Advertisement - Article continues below

Another chip company based in Sweden, called Biohax, is in talks with several UK legal and financial firms about implanting staff. It's founder Jowan sterlund, is a former professional body piercer, told the Telegraph that the chips are foolproof.

"These companies have sensitive documents they are dealing with," said sterlund. "The chips would allow them to set restrictions for whoever."

"There's no losing it, there's no dropping it, there's no forgetting it. There's always going to be an ultimate backup."

The TUC's warnings may have come too late as BioTeq have already fitted 150 implants into British workers and Swedish based Biohax is planning an office in London, according to its website. It claims 4,000 people have been microchipped, mostly in Sweden.

IT Pro has approached BioHax for comment.

Featured Resources

Top 5 challenges of migrating applications to the cloud

Explore how VMware Cloud on AWS helps to address common cloud migration challenges

Download now

3 reasons why now is the time to rethink your network

Changing requirements call for new solutions

Download now

All-flash buyer’s guide

Tips for evaluating Solid-State Arrays

Download now

Enabling enterprise machine and deep learning with intelligent storage

The power of AI can only be realised through efficient and performant delivery of data

Download now
Advertisement

Most Popular

Visit/infrastructure/server-storage/355118/hpe-warns-of-critical-bug-that-destroys-ssds-after-40000-hours
Server & storage

HPE warns of 'critical' bug that destroys SSDs after 40,000 hours

26 Mar 2020
Visit/software/video-conferencing/355138/zoom-beaming-ios-user-data-to-facebook-for-targeted-ads
video conferencing

Zoom beams iOS user data to Facebook for targeted ads

27 Mar 2020
Visit/software/355113/companies-offering-free-software-to-fight-covid-19
Software

These are the companies offering free software during the coronavirus crisis

25 Mar 2020
Visit/mobile/mobile-phones/355088/apple-lifts-iphone-purchase-restrictions
Mobile Phones

Apple lifts iPhone purchase restrictions

23 Mar 2020