This is the first known case in which US workers have been "tagged" electronically as a way of identifying them. The company claims to be testing the technology as a way of controlling access to a room where it holds security video footage for government agencies and the police. As a side effect any implanted device can be used to track the employee without their knowledge.
Needless to say, the company has its defenders who argue that it is acceptable as long as it is not compulsory. Presumably, this means that it is "voluntary" in the sense that if you do not agree to it, you will not be employed for long. Given the high levels of job insecurity and lack of decent jobs in America, the demand is likely to find willing takes. And, of course, if this technology gives the company a competitive advantage, then market forces will ensure that more and more workers will have to "volunteer" to be tagged.
This has even wider implications, of course. Given New Labour's love affair with big business, will it be a matter of time before they will be urging us to replace our ID cards with embedded chips? Think of the spurious arguments they could utilise to justify this! After all, the innocent will have nothing to fear...
This means that economic power will place a key role in determining how "voluntary" this embedding will actually be. But it does raise an important issue, namely why should the words "private property" make an action acceptable or not? If governments did what bosses habitually do, such as ban free speech (no talking back), ban freedom of association (no unions), tell people want to wear, how to behave and what to do, few people would fail to label it for what it is: tyranny. That people can leave a democratic state hardly makes restrictions on their liberty valid. The same applies to the voluntary feudalism of capitalism.
All in all, this is a door we would be wise keep closed in both the private and public sectors.