In headline news that portends to a future predicted by science fiction writers for years, a Wisconson based company which provides self-service vending machines and office break rooms to businesses around the world, announced it is offering to implant tiny radio-frequency identification (RFID) chip into workers’ hands on a voluntary basis. Three Square Market says their intention is not to track employees, but rather to enable them with a wave of their chipped hand, to open secured doors, log into and operate computers and copy machines, or pay for snacks out of the company’s vending machines. So far, 50 of the 80+ employees in the company have agreed to have the chip installed on Aug. 1, 2017, becoming the first workers in the U.S. to ever do so. According to one report, the company is offering its employees that want the technology but not the chip implant, the alternative of wearing a wristband with a RFID microchip installed on it.
The $300 a piece chip was built by Three Square Market in partnership with Swedish-based BioHax International. The chip the size of a grain of rice is installed by syringe injection between the thumb and index finger. It is basically similar to a chip that is embedded in your credit card, with no GPS capability, so fears of tracking employees movements outside the company seem unfounded for now. However, inside the company, it would seem that invasively tracking the activity of employees would be quite possible as they moved through secure doors and accessed electronic equipment that was equipped with radio-frequency identification used by the chip. Not only would you know their movements and activities, but it might also tell you if someone takes long breaks of inactivity?And who is to say that the chip won’t be updated with new functionality that might be more invasive in the future? And for those that get the embedded chip, they might not feel that great about their choice if they leave the company some day.