(TMU) – Lawmakers in Michigan have passed a bill that would make it illegal for employers to force their workers to be tagged with microchips in a bid to preemptively thwart companies who seek to make it mandatory to wear the productivity-tracking devices.
The Michigan House passed the bill on Wednesday, which would make acceptance of the microchip implants voluntary, reports WJRT.
The move comes as growing numbers of companies have explored the idea of using the sub-dermal, rice-sized Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) microchips as a substitute for time cards, ID badges, and security clearance devices.
The chips can help make it a bit easier to get into the office, log into a computer, or buy food and drinks in the cafeteria.
But they can also be used to make sure workers are hustling on the job in line with management desires to maximize efficiency.
“With the way technology has increased over the years and as it continues to grow, it’s important Michigan job providers balance the interests of the company with their employees’ expectations of privacy,” said Republican State Rep. Bronna Kahle, who sponsored the bill.
While the RFID devices haven’t come into widespread usage yet, Kahle and others believe they could become the norm in states like Michigan in the coming years.
“While these miniature devices are on the rise, so are the calls of workers to have their privacy protected,” Kahle said.
Microchips have long been the basis for a number of conspiracies that claim the government is planning to implant tracking chips in the populace, leading to a kind of scenario similar to the dystopian George Orwell novel, 1984.
However, the Michigan bill reflects long-brewing concerns over private industry using such high-tech methods – alongside a growing suite of surveillance technology at the workplace – to erode employee privacy.
RFID microchips have long been used by everyone from libraries to schools, governments, and the private sector to pinpoint and track the physical location of items where the tags are embedded.
And while RFIDs provide a cheap and convenient means to track inventory and safeguard raw materials from being misused, misplaced, or stolen, they have increasingly been used to track people and keep tabs on their activities – or inactivities – in the workplace.
And as states mull reopening and allowing workplaces to resume functions under the “new normal” of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, some companies such as Engineering have touted using RFID sensors as an efficient and affordable solution to upholding physical distancing standards.
RFID technology has also been used in such high-risk locales like oil rigs, where they have been used to determine whether workers have been evacuated or how evacuation scenarios are formulated.
But experts have warned that the security of information stored on the chip could also be easily compromised, with such data including the comings and goings of employees, their daily routines outside of work, as well as who somebody wearing the chip has interacted with.
And with companies like Amazon coming under increasing criticism over its use of surveillance technology and production-tracking devices to turn its workers into “human robots” working alongside actual robots, concerns remain about the dehumanizing effects such labor-saving devices can have on workers.
Dolphin Swims Through Louisiana Neighborhood in Aftermath of Hurricane Ida
A Louisiana family was shocked to find a dolphin swimming through their neighborhood in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.
Amanda Huling and her family were assessing the damage to their neighborhood in Slidell, Louisiana, when they noticed the dolphin swimming through the inundated suburban landscape.
In video shot by Huling, the marine mammal’s dorsal fin can be seen emerging from the water.
“The dolphin was still there as of last night but I am in contact with an organization who is going to be rescuing it within the next few days if it is still there,” Huling told FOX 35.
Ida slammed into the coast of Louisiana this past weekend. The Category 4 hurricane ravaged the power grid of the region, plunging residents of New Orleans and upwards of 1 million homes and businesses in Louisiana and Mississippi into the dark for an indefinite period of time.
Officials have warned that the damage has been so extensive that it could take weeks to repair the power grid, reports Associated Press.
Also in Slidell, a 71-year-old man was attacked by an alligator over the weekend while he was in his flooded shed. The man went missing and is assumed dead, reports WDSU.
Internet users began growing weary last year about the steady stream of stories belonging to a “nature is healing” genre, as people stayed indoors and stories emerged about animals taking back their environs be it in the sea or in our suburbs.
However, these latest events are the surreal realities of a world in which extreme weather events are fast becoming the new normal – disrupting our lives in sometimes predictable, and occasionally shocking and surreal, ways.
Mom in LA Suburbs Fights Off Mountain Lion With Bare Hands, Rescues 5-Year-Old Son
A mother in Southern California is being hailed as a hero after rescuing her five-year-old son from an attacking mountain lion.
The little boy was playing outside his home in Calabasas, a city lying west of Los Angeles in the Santa Monica Mountains, when the large cat pounced on him.
The 65-pound (30 kg) mountain lion dragged the boy about 45 yards across the front lawn before the mother acted fast, running out and striking the creature with her bare hands and forcing it to free her son.
“The true hero of this story is his mom because she absolutely saved her son’s life,” California Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesman Captain Patrick Foy told Associated Press on Saturday.
“She ran out of the house and started punching and striking the mountain lion with her bare hands and got him off her son,” Foy added.
The boy sustained significant injuries to his head, neck and upper torso, but is now in stable condition at a hospital in Los Angeles, according to authorities.
The mountain lion was later located and killed by an officer with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, who found the big cat crouching in the bushes with its “ears back and hissing” at the officer shortly after he arrived at the property.
“Due to its behavior and proximity to the attack, the warden believed it was likely the attacking lion and to protect public safety shot and killed it on sight,” the wildlife department noted in its statement.
The mountain lion attack is the first such attack on a human in Los Angeles County since 1995, according to Fish and Wildlife.
The Santa Monica Mountains is a biodiverse region teeming with wildlife such as large raptors, mountain lions, bears, coyote, deer, lizards, and snakes. However, their numbers have rapidly faded in recent years, causing local wildlife authorities to find new ways to manage the region’s endemic species.
Video Shows Taliban Taking Joyride in Captured US Blackhawk Helicopter
The rapid fall of Kabul to the Taliban has resulted in a number of surreal sights – from footage of the Islamist group’s fighters exercising at a presidential gym to clips of combatants having a great time on bumper cars at the local fun park.
However, a new video of Taliban members seemingly testing their skills in the cockpit of a commandeered UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter shows the chilling extent to which U.S. wares have fallen into the hands of a group it spent trillions of dollars, and exhaustive resources, to stamp out.
In the new video, shared on Twitter, the front-line utility helicopter can be seen taxiing on the ground at Kandahar Airport in southeastern Afghanistan, moving along the tarmac. It is unclear who exactly was sitting in the cockpit, and the Black Hawk cannot be seen taking off or flying.
It is unlikely that the Taliban have any combatants who are sufficiently trained to fly a UH-60 Black Hawk.
The helicopter, which carries a $6 million price tag, is just a small part of the massive haul that fell into the militant group’s hands after the country’s central government seemingly evaporated on Aug. 14 amid the withdrawal of U.S. and coalition troops.
Some 200,000 firearms, 20,000 Humvees and hundreds of aircraft financed by Washington for the now-defunct Afghan Army are believed to be in the possession of the Taliban.
The firearms include M24 sniper rifles, M18 assault weapons, anti-tank missiles, automatic grenade launchers, rocket-propelled grenades and mortars.
Taliban fighters in the elite Badri 313 Brigade have been seen in propaganda images showing off in uniforms and wielding weaponry meant for the special forces units of the Afghan Army.
The U.S. is known to have purchased 42,000 light tactical vehicles, 9,000 medium tactical vehicles and over 22,000 Humvees between 2003 and 2016.
The White House remains unclear on how much weaponry has fallen into Taliban hands, with National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan admitting last week that the U.S. lacks a “clear picture of just how much missing $83 billion of military inventory” the group has.