Three Square Market becomes the first US company to microchip employees

2 min read
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RFID

It seems the stuff of dystopian nightmares of fringe takes on the book of Revelations, but more companies are starting to implant chips in their employees. Earlier this year, Swedish startup Epicenter let employees have an optional microchip implant for the sake of convenience. Functioning like an always-on-you RFID tag, the microchips let people in and out of the office, operate printers, buy snacks from vending machines and other mundane activities just by waving their hands at a terminal.

“The biggest benefit, I think, is convenience. It basically replaces a lot of things you have, other communication devices, whether it be credit cards or keys, ” Patrick Mesterton, co-founder and chief executive of Epicenter said back then.

Now, a US company called Three Two Markets is doing the same, letting employees opt into having the implants done. At a company party on August 1, they’re expecting 50 employees to get the chips done. The implant uses near-field communications (NFC), which is the same technology that in your contactless bank card that too few damned retailers locally support, and is in many phones for mobile payment options. The chip is implanted between the thumb and forefinger underneath the skin, in a process that takes seconds

“We foresee the use of RFID technology to drive everything from making purchases in our office break room market, opening doors, use of copy machines, logging into our office computers, unlocking phones, sharing business cards, storing medical/health information, and used as payment at other RFID terminals. Eventually, this technology will become standardized allowing you to use this as your passport, public transit, all purchasing opportunities, etc.” says 32M CEO, Todd Westby.

Of course, this raises huge privacy concerns, though 32M insists that the chip isn’t tracking anything. He’s likely right. The chips are passive devices and are capable of storing very little information. It’s really no different to an office keycard – it’s just one you can’t easily lose.

What do you think? Is this the sort of future you’re keen to be a part of, or does biohacking like this make you feel uneasy?

Last Updated: July 25, 2017

Geoffrey Tim

Editor. I’m old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time – they were capable of being masterpieces. I’m here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

  • No thanks, I don’t mind the 2 seconds it takes to take out my credit card or server access card.

  • Hammersteyn

    What if there’s a bee in the office and I’m trying to wave it off as I’m walking by the tampon dispenser and it reads my waves as purchases?

    • At least you can flail about in confidence then.

      • Magoo

        Everyday.

      • Hammersteyn

        Go with the flow?

        • MonsterCheddar

          XD

    • BakedBagel

      Could you imagine if an update goes haywire and people start purchasing the doors they trying to open?

      • Magoo

        Or, like, opening the vending machines they’re trying to purchase from?

  • Magoo

    Seems harmless enough as far as tech goes. But it’s a no from me.

  • I have always wondered why this is safer. Does this not make it easier for someone with a proximity card machine to walk about in public and steal money that way?

    • Grimsupanoob

      remember I do not need to have financial details stored on there. if I use it for access to work, you will now have the details needed to walk into my company, without any hassles…..

      • As long as its accompanied by bio metric scanning it will be fine. But then again bio metric access is the same as the chip and even more secure, kinda leaving the chip redundant.

        • Grimsupanoob

          there was a an experiment done in the you-es, of how easy it is with a RFID scanner (think the guy was within a meter of the “victim”) to read the details from a credit card (that is not in a RFID blocking wallet) and then use those details to make purchases online…

          So if you are relying on this alone, yeah, kiss those laptopsservers etc goodbye.

  • MonsterCheddar
    • Grimsupanoob

      Dem Damn lizard overlords won’t brand me like cattle….

  • silverscorpio

    In South Africa you will lose a hand or any part of your body where thieves think you might have a chip. At very least Hijackings will increase as they drag you to an ATM or other place where they feel they might be able to steal something. No Thank You.

    • miaau

      Yeah I read that Merc did something similar years back, fingerprint tech for high end cars as trial run in the far East. Several pretty rich people had fingers cut off, as the thieves must have thought that would be enough to operate the car. it was not.

      Malaysia, I think it was.