A bill in the Alabama Legislature is seeking to prohibit companies from mandating workers receive a microchip implant as a condition for employment.

House Bill 4 (HB4), sponsored by State Rep. Prince Chestnut (D-Selma), already has two other cosponsors, State Reps. Kevin Lawerance (D-Hayneville) and Anthony Daniels (D-Huntsville).

The bill would make it a class-D felony for any company or state entity to require its employees to receive any microchip implant or any other permanent identification marker as a condition for employment. The bill does not prohibit voluntary microchipping.

Microchipping employees has been on the rise in recent years. Companies are exploring microchips as a potentially more convenient way for employees to log in to computers, pay for food, access-restricted areas and much more.

While microchipping may be the way of the future, many people have raised concerns about the potential risks to health, privacy and security.

Microchips implanted in a person are usually no bigger than a grain of rice. They can be embedded subcutaneously in the hand, wrist or other areas easily accessible to a scanner.

The most commonly used Radio Field Identification (RFID) chips are passive, meaning they must come into contact with a scanner to transmit data. Unlike GPF, passive chips do not have any transmitting capabilities.

Near-Field Communication (NFC) chips use electromagnetic radio fields to wirelessly communicate to digital readers in close proximity, like smartphones and contactless payment systems. NFC chips, while less common, are susceptible to hacking and other data interception.

With human microchipping being a novel practice, the health risks are still not fully known. A 2020 study with the American Society for Surgery of the Hand stated that chip implants pose potential health risks, such as adverse tissue reactions and the inability to use medical technologies like MRI.

While no U.S.-based businesses are mandating microchipping, several have offered voluntary microchipping to their employees as the practice grows in popularity yearly.

At least 10 states have already passed laws prohibiting mandatory microchipping, and several others are planning to in 2023.

To connect with the author of this story, or to comment, email craig.monger@1819news.com.

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