An American tech company has been implanting microchips into the bodies of its employees – yes, you read that right – and it’s all perfectly legal.
It’s legal because it’s an entirely voluntary procedure, only carried out if the employee consents to it. And a surprising number of the company’s staff are apparently just fine with their bosses installing microchips into their bodies.
The company, based out of Wisconsin, is called Three Square Market. And the offer it made to its employees was pretty simple: just embed a rice-sized RFID chip into your hand, and then you’ll be able to pay for meals and open doors at work, just like you would with a swipe card.
That might sound cool or convenient, especially if you tend to lose your card all the time. And RFID chips have a very limited range for scanning, so it’s not like the company was installing a tracking device, or anything that would allow them to surveil their employees outside of the office.
That said, there could still be concerns about whether the data encoded in the chip would be very safe from third party interception, to which RFID chips are notoriously prone.
And for those who haven’t heard of RFID chips, you probably use them every day – when you use an ID card to swipe in at work, when you use your credit card, and when you use public transit (for example, Melbourne’s Myki cards use RFID technology).
That means you’re probably carrying RFID chips all the time already, and you probably come into contact with RFID scanners throughout your day. In fact, this guy went one step further and implanted his transport card for a seamless commute.
That means if you have highly sensitive information on a chip embedded in your hand, there are numerous opportunities for it to be intercepted by fraudsters.
That doesn’t mean that RFID chips can’t work in the way Three Square Market envisions. It just means employees need to be careful and know exactly what they’re getting into when they have them installed, and what kind of information they might carry.
And at the end of the day, is it really necessary? Is it really so difficult to carry a card on your person?
In any case, things will probably be heading in this direction — people will probably get used to this idea, and more employers will start to offer it.
So don’t be surprised if you find yourself swiping into work with a wave of the hand in the very near future.