Privacy advocates have been busy this year, fighting for net neutrality, voter record collection, and other infringements on personal liberty. This story out of Wisconsin will likely take that fight to a whole new level. A company has asked its employees to have microchips implanted in their skin.
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Microchip implants aren’t new. Many pets have chips. The helpful devices can be screened by authorities to help connect lost pets to their owners. But for a company to implant chips in their employees strikes some as overkill.
Yet that’s just what Three Square Market has asked. The company designs software for break rooms. And their press release says they’ll begin implanting on August 1.
The RFID chip, which they promise won’t be used for nefarious purposes, or tracking their employees, will enable them to open doors, access computers, run the copy machine, and even buy snacks from vending machines at the office.
This is the first known example of chip implantation in the US. “Eventually, this technology will become standardized allowing you to use this as your passport, public transit, all purchasing opportunities, etc,” Three Market Square CEO, Todd Westby, said.
The Daily Mail is reporting that up to 50 staff members are voluntarily chipping themselves.
The chip itself is small, about the size of a grain of rice.It will be implanted between their thumb and forefinger. The chips cost about $300, and work in proximity to scanners. So you ring up your purchase, say, and then wave your hand over the scanner the way some now pay with cellphones.
In an era of perceived (if not actual) rampant privacy violations, this move seems troubling. Yet Westby thinks it is the way of the future. The Big-Brother like cliche of people stamped with bar codes, though, was always seen as hyperbolic. This functions in exactly the same manner, but is not nearly as visually noticeable. Will that make the trend socially acceptable?