FT.com :: US group implants electronic tags in workers

An Ohio company has embedded silicon chips in two of its employees – the first known case in which US workers have been “tagged” electronically as a way of identifying them.

CityWatcher.com, a private video surveillance company, said it was testing the technology as a way of controlling access to a room where it holds security video footage for government agencies and the police.

Embedding slivers of silicon in workers is likely to add to the controversy over RFID technology, widely seen as one of the next big growth industries.

RFID chips – inexpensive radio transmitters that give off a unique identifying signal – have been implanted in pets or attached to goods so they can be tracked in transit.

“There are very serious privacy and civil liberty issues of having people permanently numbered,” said Liz McIntyre, who campaigns against the use of identification technology.

There are big concerns about this technology.

This technology is based on the VeriChip.

There are some interesting thoughts posted at PhysOrg.com on this article including this one:

on Feb 14 2006, 12:14PM by aksail

We have already given up much privacy in the name of convenience, safety, security and a host of other “positive” reasons. Cell phone computers not only can record your conversations but your movements and as each new generation of cell gets “better” your location and activities are known more exactly. Have you ever had a call from your credit card company asking if you recently had traveled to another city? I have, well before the cell phone. Each generation seems to give up an incremental amount of freedom and with time that becomes “normal” so that the next generation does the same in an ever decreasing level of personal freedom.

Identity theft is becoming a major problem and I believe that we will have some kind of national ID system. Eventually it will not be a social security number on a card in your wallet, but some kind of tag possibly inserted at birth (check out “Logan’s Run” or “Gataca”). Even the coming RFID system designed to replace the UPC and offering many benefits might end up allowing the generation of a profile that is likely to be you even if it does not positively ID you. A person who deactivates or takes out all their tags may be as noticeable and suspect as one who does not. Yes, I too believe science fiction writers to be visionary. I am afraid that the old curse “May you live in interesting times” has come true for us.

And let us not forget that this chip has dubious value anyway since it has been hacked.

So what happens now, other security related companies begin to have more and more voluntary ‘installations’ and eventually ‘requirements’ like we have seen with drug test technologies etc.? Till eventually, everyone has one as a matter of course, just because their company now requires it and it’s just a course of life?

Sigh…

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