A company in Wisconsin plans to be the first company in the nation to implant microchips in the hands of a majority of its employees. Three Square Market will have microchips implanted in the volunteers’ hands, among its workforce, in order to replace identification cards that are used to open doors or operate equipment at the office.
The company has around eighty employees. The plan has raised concerns regarding the privacy of the employees.
The technology is most likely to be used in the break room where an employee might have to l=just flick their wrist to get candy or a bag of pretzels.
More than fifty employees will end up with bionic hands next week, with a credit card chip that will be implanted near their wrist. The chips will be given to employees for free. They usually cost around $300. “Basically it’s a serial number that is assigned to your credit card,” said the owner, Todd Westby. Westby and his family, including his wife and two kids will also get the microchip.
“It’s for entrance to the building, logging into computers, making purchases in our break room market, things of that nature,” said Westby.
Employees can opt to use the traditional keypad with identification numbers to enter the company building or can get microchipped, and use their hands to swipe, which will open the door.
The company makes vending machines with credit card chip readers, which makes one wonder if this is a publicity stunt and the worry about its consequences on privacy. “Do you want someone to know every time you enter or leave a room? There’s a degree of autonomy that’s lost with this, you know, person to person, one to one tracking. You can never leave it behind. You can’t really turn it off,” said Dan Ackerman, senior editor at CNET.
Eric White, the assembly manager, believes that this is a step towards the future, and that the chips could eventually save lives. “Somebody who’s allergic to something or has a condition, they can scan your hand and all the information is there,” said White.
Europe already uses this technology. Three Square Market will be teaming up with a Swedish company to microchip the employees. The chip has to be implanted by a professional piercer, while removing it is as simple as taking out a splinter.