LITTLE ROCK (KATV) — For our furry friends, they seem to be no-brainers, but microchips for humans are a tougher sell. Nonetheless, one Arkansas lawmaker is convinced they're the way of the future and believes legislation is necessary to set ground rules for employers that seek to offer them to their employees.
Microchip implants are becoming popular in Sweden where they're being used to store identification information, hold e-tickets for events and even used to hold fares for public transportation.
In northern Wisconsin, last year a company began offering microchips to their employees on a voluntary basis. The chips are not GPS-enabled, instead of replacing key cards to access secure buildings, simplifying the process of logging into password protected computers and even purchasing food in their company cafeteria.
"It's starting to beg the question, can these companies force their employees to take these microchips," questioned State Representative Stephen Meeks (R-Greenbrier). "What happens to the data? And then what happens when an employee leaves the company - what happens to the microchip?"
Even though there are no companies in Arkansas utilizing the technology, Meeks wants to "get ahead of the curve" with legislation that would make the answers to his and likely other Arkansans questions a lot clearer.
"Instead of us being reactive, we can be proactive," said Meeks.
Meeks filed HB 1177 on Wednesday. The bill clarifies that no employer can require an employee to be microchipped as a condition of employment - it would also require employers to disclose to those being microchipped what the data is being collected for. The bill, which is still in committee, places any costs associated with microchipping on the employer and allows employees to have the chip removed at any time.
There's no word if any company in Arkansas even plans to start using microchips for employees in the immediate future. Meeks said government employees have no need to worry.
"Right now the state has no interest in getting involved with this," said Meeks. "The state has no interest in tracking people with this."
You can see the full text of the bill by clicking here.