Should corporations be allowed to use human bar code technology?

The technology is now available to implant tiny chips in human beings that can track their movements. See this article. There’s plenty more out there on the Web.

In Kansas (IIRC) they are already debating whether corporations should be allowed to track workers’ movements. People are also concerned about governmental applications.

I say corporations should not be allowed to use this technology to track workers, and would be VERY comfortable with a federal law expressly forbidding it. There have to be SOME limits on what corporations can do to human beings who work for them, and this strikes me as one of the very rational, reasonable ones.

I don’t believe that corporations should be allowed to require that their workers get microchips implanted as a condition of employment.

I do believe that corporations have every right to track a worker’s exact movements, down to the inch if they so desire, as long as the worker is on the clock. How they go about doing it without surgically implanted RFID chips is their own problem.

As to the OP, I think it’s painfully obvious that this would be the absolute end of any kind of right to privacy or individual freedoms. If anything like this is actually allowed to occur in the US (or any other supposedly free, democratic nation for that matter), I will lose all faith in this nation. It’s absolutely inexcusable.

Worse comes to worse, they could make a kind of badge, wristband, or other accessory which would serve both as identification and a tracking device. Employees would leave it at a designated place in the workplace when they went home, and would sign or clock in and be handed their personal device as they enter the building the next morning.

If RFID chips require a reader device, why is this needed at all, why not use biometrics?

I find your notion that corporations could only get workers to get microchips as a condition of employment to be, shall we say, quaint. I’m sure workers who refused to wear chips could be let go for all sorts of reasons having nothing to do with chips.

As for your second paragraph, that’s about par for the course for a Doper. Things that would absolutely horrify you if the government did it, leaves you all warmnhappy if a corporation does it.

As a worker, my feeling is, if someone is turning me into a robot, I don’t care who’s doing it or why. I’m against it.

A lot of people are opposed to biometrics. If someone manages to copy an employee’s thumbprint, then the entire system must be replaced(either that, or the employee’s thumb). If someone manages to copy an RFID tag, only the tag has to be replaced.

A nitpick about your terminology, Evil Captor. The OP says “bar code technology,” but I think you are referring to RFID technology. A bar code is a printed pattern like the one you see on every item in the supermarket and requires an optical scan to read it. An RFID chip has no specific appearance, may be hidden and still be readable by radio frequency interrogation from some distance away.

I’m not sure what “human” bar code technology is, unless you are referring to tatooing optical patterns on skin.

I believe it was a metaphor.

Employee badge with RFID + enough RFID readers = knowing where the employees is at all times, no surgery necessary.

I’m not sure what’s so quaint about my opinion. Employers should not be allowed to require biometric chips be installed in employees. Just another employment rule the government can enforce, just like they do with so many others.

Yeah, well there’s one humongous honking difference between corporations and governments. Corporations give me money in exchange for work, the government takes my money to run the infrastructure that makes a country function.

When someone is giving me money, they have a right to attach (limited) conditions to the giving of money. Those rights become pretty strong when it deals directly with the time they’re paying me to work. An employer has a compelling interest in knowing my whereabouts during the time they’re paying me to work.

The government has no compelling interest to know my whereabouts 24x7. They’re supposed to be working in order to secure my freedom and privacy, so they have an uphill battle to show that taking away my privacy benefits me overall.

I did several Google searches on this topic, tried “Human barcode” after I found an article with that title, and it pulled up a lot more hits than any of the others, so I used human barcode myself. It appears to be the term everyone is using.

When I read the thread title it made me think of bar-code tattoos . . .

It’s indisputably wrong, however, and it certainly confused me. I thought you were talking about printing barcodes on people’s skin.

May as well use correct terminology.

Well of course everyone is against being forced to have a chip embeded in them that lets your boss or the government track your every movement. That said, I worked at a company 15 years ago that made security systems that would allow you to track an employees badge to the nearest node. You could dial *7 and the extension or something and it would tell you “Bob Johnson - Conference Room B”. Computers already track your entering and exiting the building and who knows how long time cards have been in place. Of course my current employer doesn’t need to know my whereabouts - the can contact me on my Blackberry 24/7.

The question is why does a company need to know my whereabouts? They need to know whether I’m in the building or not. Of course they have every right to track my productivity indirectly - monitoring customer calls, tracking widget productions, etc.

Of course you don’t have much of an expectation of privacy at work. It’s not your home or a lounge. You’re paid to spend your time working for the company. It’s not you get paid and then do what the heck you like when you like it.
What may happen eventually is that people will simply find it convienient to have some kind of implant chip. The chip might carry medical information or be used as a form of payment. Of course it can be tracked, but like a credit card, people may just find that it’s too much of a hastle living “off the grid”.

It’d be useful for workers in prisons. My local one has something called a “Spider System”, though I don’t know if that’s the brand name or a nickname.

I imagine it could be very useful in coal mines and such.

But as for your local office building, I’ll be damned if I can think of a reason why it’d be important to know if Bob is in the copy room or in the filing area.

Go ahead, knock yourself out.

I can think of a handful of jobs where a tracking implant would be useful and IMHO, acceptable as a condition for employment. Prisons, the military, very high security jobs such as for the Pentagon or CIA. Coal miners and others can get by with the tag as part if their equipment, and it should be illegal to even ask employees to get one.

The problem with the chip being in a badge or some removable bracelet is that these things can be left at a desk or whatever while employee sneaks off - “Oh, look, he’s still on the can.”

The other alternative would be some sort of cable-tie chip bracelet that gets cut off at the end of the day. Maybe a tag in the ear! Moooooo!

The whole thing seems like a bit of a scarestory, actually. I mean, what if you have religious objections to being chipped (as, I gather, a some fundies do because of some verses about 666 in Revelations)? Any company trying this in the Bible Belt won’t go down so well, I reckon.

There is a nightclub in Mallorca that uses this technology for entry and payment.
I read about it some time ago.

Also, I think the correct name for the device is ‘transponder’.

Somehow I’m not convinced that the technology would work, unless the employees really wanted to cooperate. You would get people buying cloaking devices, performing amateur surgery, getting animal ID chips (which are the same thing) to confuse the system.

Such things could be really dangerous in a prison, grab a warder, open up his arm and you’ve a fair chance of getting where you shouldn’t - too much reliance on high technology can be rather dangerous.

What made it “quaint” to me was that I was assuming you were against corporations monitoring people with chips, and that you thought having some sort of rule about not requiring them as a condition of employment would have much effect on actual practices in the workplace. But since you appear to be just fine with such corporate practices, I’m not sure what your point is.

As a worker, it doesn’t make any difference who the big guy is who’s trying to turn me into a chip-controlled rat in a maze. I don’t like it either way. Your concept that who gives money to who makes a difference is not cogent.

This is what I meant about Dopers generally being OK with all kinds of inhumane and overbearing activity by corporations which they would oppose by a government. From a humanitarian POV, the source of the inhumane behavior is moot.

They might have trouble convincing YOU of that, but the American people? “Hey, if we don’t have chips implanted in is, the terrorists WIN!” That’s all it would take for a lot of them. Plus, you seem to have already succumbed to corporate control.