Technological innovation often outpaces our ability to protect individual privacy. That is definitely true in the current moment. Our digital footprints can be tracked by the government and corporations in ways that were once unthinkable.
One concerning trend that started gaining traction in 2017, largely seen among tech companies, involves implantation of microchips under employees’ skin. These microchips are then used to access secure workspaces and buildings, eliminating the need to carry a key fob. But more so than simply opening the door to your office, these microchips may open the door to serious privacy concerns.
Recognizing these concerns, in 2020 the Indiana legislature worked to pass House Bill 1143 which prohibits an employer from requiring an employee to have a device implanted or otherwise incorporated into the employee's body as a condition of employment or as a condition of receiving additional compensation or benefits.
This legislation is critical. Hoosiers should not be required or coerced to undergo the internal implantation of an identification device.
Now legislators are continuing to expand on this legislation to ensure that the workplace provides protections to employees, against employer invasion of privacy through the practice of microchipping. House Bill 1156 would expand on the definition of employer to include governmental entities, as well as other types of employers.
These devices are just one way in which our digital footprints are growing, containing more and more data about the most intimate aspects of our lives. These data include our communications, whereabouts, online searches, purchases, and even our bodies. When governments and corporations have easy access to this information, we lose more than just privacy and control over our information. Free speech, security, and equality can suffer as well. But we believe that no Hoosier should be required to give up their privacy as a condition of employment.