"… Microchip implants are essentially cylindrical bar codes that, when scanned, transmit a unique signal through a layer of skin. Mostly, they have been used to organize products or warehouses or identify livestock and stray pets, though there has been some human experimentation.
In 1998, Kevin Warwick, a professor of cybernetics at Reading University, had a chip implanted in his hand both to demonstrate that it was possible, and as a way of exploring the transhumanist idea that fusing technology with the body is the next step in humanity’s evolution.
Österlund first became aware of microchipping technology several years after Warwick’s project, when his friend made a copy of his dog’s chip and implanted it under his own skin. They were both part of the body modification scene in Sweden and frequently experimented with new techniques, such as branding and septum piercing. “The dog chip was kind of a practical joke, so that when my friend went to the vet he could be identified as his own pet labrador, or whatever,” Österlund told me. “But the idea of doing something more with implants stuck with me.”
But according to Ajunwa, because labor laws in the US often skew in favor of the employer, workers can still be subject to coercion when it comes to surveillance tech.
In 2015, for example, a woman was fired after she deleted an employee tracking app that recorded her movements, even when she was not at work. In another recent case, an employer was found to have demanded employees provide DNA samples for genetic testing after human feces was found in their workplace. Ajunwa says that in the absence of clear labor regulations that prevent workplace pressure to submit to surveillance, “employees might feel pressured to say yes to microchips even if they have reservations”."
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