Free Microchip Implants, the New Employee Perk?

By Nathaniel Scharping | July 24, 2017 2:47 pm
The rice grain-sized microchip from Biohax. (Credit: Biohax)

The rice grain-sized microchip from Biohax. (Credit: Biohax)

A Wisconsin company will be the first in the United States to implant microchips beneath the skin of its employees.

Three Squared Market (32M), a break-room kiosk company, has offered to give its workers subdermal RFID tags, tiny rice-grain-sized pellets that can hold information like credit card numbers and passwords. With their “handy” chips, they’ll be able to unlock doors, log in to computers, and, of course, buy snacks from the company vending machines—all with a wave of their hand.

A Chip in the Hand…

The chips, which the company emphasizes are completely voluntary, get injected just beneath the skin between the thumb and forefinger. The procedure is quick and simple, requiring little more than a needle. Once securely in place, all employees need to do is hold a hand near a chip reader for it to work, much like a key fob or credit card chip scanner. They say they expect roughly 50 people to take part.

“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,” said 32M CEO Todd Westby in a statement.

The company will cover the roughly $300 in costs associated with the procedure, which is being done in conjunction with Biohax, a Swedish biohacking company. Biohax has performed similar operations for the employees of Epicenter, a start-up hub in Sweden, where employees have even begun throwing parties for newly initiated implantees, according to the Telegraph. On Aug. 1, 32M plans to hold its own party for chipped employees.

…Is Worth What Exactly?

The chips will not track employees’ movements or gather other personal information, as they rely on near field communication (NFC) technology, which requires a nearby transponder to generate the power necessary to exchange information. Still, this hasn’t stemmed worries about hackers’ ability to steal information from our chip-enabled credit cards, however. One company even sells wallets, purses and other accessories specifically designed to block the transmission of any information. Such fears may be overblown, however, at least for the moment. So few people have RFID tags, or even contact-less credit cards, that it’s not worth most hackers’ time to attempt to steal them. And even if they tried, they would have to get uncomfortably close to do so.

And though they make life easier inside 32M’s walls, the chips will have little use in the rest of the world. The technology to pay for things with a swipe of the chip-enabled hand isn’t in place in most establishments, as one Buzzfeed writer found out when he tried to go cashless and credit card-less for a month. He did finally succeed in buying a meal with his chip, but only after some custom coding and a whole lot of patience.

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  • Mike Weiss

    OMG! The Tin foil hats were right!

    • temporary guest

      LOL … Yeah … and you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

  • OWilson

    Doubtless there’ll be a line up for this.

    Tattooed, pierced and now chip implanted!

    Cool, man! :)

  • http://www.mazepath.com/uncleal/qz4.htm Uncle Al

    One anticipates that bright, bright day when an inopportune scratch of one’s posterior buys chocolate chip cookies for everybody in the cafeteria. My chipped credit cards are within a floating ground – polymer, copper foil, polymer – sheath. I don’t see it as as shirt.

  • Lisa Rosestars

    Anyone who allows this is worse than a fool.

    • OWilson

      A goodly proportion of society tend to favor “belonging” to a group of peers.

      To be accepted and “belong”, they will happily give up privacy, critical thought processes, even individual identity. Once in a group, crowd behavior can marginalize individual ethics, morals and principles.

      A once loving son or daughter can show up in a video torching a cop car!

    • temporary guest

      You’ve got that right. I’ve already worked for too many companies who think they own their employees.

  • Alan Hubbard

    I can already see a new fashion craze-tin foil gloves worn on one hand to block the radio waves from stealing your info, Michael Jackson-like……

    • J Smith

      the irony is the tin foil or its analogue will no longer be a metaphor for paranoia and egomania but for rationality.

      The cost of data acquisition, storage and use (mining, processing power, and algorithm application) has been and is plummeting and keep doing so.

      the 1960’s person thinking they are being monitored is a paranoid as real time monitoring meant tasking of another human, say listening to your phone conversations and 99.99% of people simply were not worth it to monitor. It was vain and egomaniacal to think you were important enough.

      Today your verbose medical records, purchasing decisions, educational record and scores, employment, criminal, for your entire life can now be stored for a nickel. Add a penny and your relevant DNA resolution can be stored. They can be bought, sold and mined. AI will make mining of this profoundly faster and cheaper.

      Yes, external devices will seem like stone age tools in a couple of generations. But external devices can be turned off. Our great grandchildren will consider our smart connected devices held in hands or sitting around our homes as primitive as we see the carrier pigeon today. they will be wondering why we did not just implant them. But being able to turn them off, especially when they are scanning brains, looking at epigenetic affects, mediating our hormone levels (think about sleep to sleep) — and connected to a network will fundamentally change humans.

      In a generation or two there will be no reason for anyone to be fully blind (my ten year old ‘micro’ volunteers as a “viewer” for a blind person who lives on the others ide of the planet, helping them on walks and even preparing food thought their smartphones), as devices will increasingly mediate that, or deaf, or without significant bionics. Those will be by their nature implanted — and networked. Like the benefits of gene editing the benefits will lead.

      • OWilson

        The collection and sharing of data is the single most important societal issue of the day.

        More than ever, knowledge is power!

        It is highly valued by criminals, politicians, pollsters, and marketers alike.

        But power is also knowledge!

        Imagine your Political Party is in control of all 17 Intelligence Agencies, domestic and Foreign.

        Would you be able to resist a peek at the 20 years of collected data on your hated opponent? If compromising info is there, would you want that information to get out to the voters at large.

        The answers is, of course, is yes, it happens all the time!

      • temporary guest

        “the irony is the tin foil or its analogue will no longer be a metaphor for paranoia and egomania but for rationality.”

        In a world where politicians have pretty much made common sense into a thought crime and defending it into a hate crime, why not?

  • Woman from WI

    If someone quits working there does the company pay to remove it?

  • Etrius

    Revelations 13: 16-18 Ill just leave this here

    • Jakejd

      Well, okay, but – I can’t imagine an RFID chip in the forehead would be all that “convenient.”

      “Please hold your forehead next to the scanner to complete purchase.”

      • temporary guest

        Assuming that technology has hit a stand still, you’d be right. It is curious how the writer of the biblical Revelation could have foreseen anything even similar to this chip technology almost 2000 years before electricity was discovered, isn’t it?

        • Paul Berkey

          Satin has been referred to as the Prince of the power of the air. I have always considered that to be electricity due to lightening. Isn’t it interesting how many qualities electricity and water share? Flow, current, etc… And yet we are baptised in water and God uses water to his Glory. Satin uses electricity to control.

          • temporary guest

            I confess, I have never heard that theory. When I consider that Satan is the “prince of power of the air”, I have always considered that to be a spiritual reference, indicative to those things of this fallen world that affect human hearts and minds, evil things that exist outside of the word and realm of God. We either (spiritually) live and move and have our being in God, through Christ, or we live and move and have our being in that “air” (again, spiritual) over which Satan holds power.

            I must also confess that I am not a theologian. I have only stated what seems to me to make sense in regards to Satan’s power.

    • Paul Berkey

      Amen. The great “I AM” is being challenged by “IBM”. I have friends who are uneducated about the truth and consequences of that choice. It has just become more critical than ever for the salt of the earth to preserve God’s love.

  • shelby

    Perk? that’s hilarious, of course this is being marketed like a convenience rather than what the true intention is and we just sit back and watch all the sheeple jump off the cliff. Seriously, the Gov’t’s wet dream

    • Sandra

      On point Shelby… you hit the nail right on the head.

  • Jatinder Yakhmi

    It is crazy, and lazy!
    Besides think of the diabolical usages by interested persons/parties to implant the chips (as in some old movies) beneath the skins of some gullible simpletons/illiterates forcibly or without their knoledge, and making them do unwanted jobs/errands/slavery.

  • Katherine Brockus

    I found heard about this on the news and now here; I find this so interesting. I have seen stuff like this done in movies but I never thought this would actually happen. In a text book, I am currently reading they talk about how personal privacy is an ethical and legal issue (Johannesen, Valde, Whedbee; 2008, p. 126). I would need to know all of the ins and outs, before I ever considered putting a microchip in me. The article says that it will not be able to track their movements and gather other personal information, because it requires a transponder to be near. Does nearby mean at work or your hand must be directly by the transponder? There is also talk about hackers and how they would have to have close contact. Criminals are crafty people and I wouldn’t put it past them to try breaking into this. When they want something, they don’t have a problem getting up close and personal. This is something people who pick pockets do on a regular basis. If something were to happen, how much is the company liable for or is it all on the employee? I have a very hard time thinking that this is a safe way to go about doing things.

    Johannesen, R. L., Valde, K. S., & Whedbee, K. E. (2008). Ethics in human communication. Long Grove, IL: Waveland Press.

    • temporary guest

      “I would need to know all of the ins and outs …”

      Consider the creation and use of these chips as the “in” and ask yourself, 30, 40 or 50 years from now (maybe less), will there be any such thing as an “out”?

  • temporary guest

    Setting aside the biblical implications of a chip implanted in the palm of your hand for the benefit of those who really just don’t like hearing about the Bible …. have you seen “Logan’s Run” lately?” Maybe Star Trek is not the only science fiction to shape reality.

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