Three Square Market Offers Microchip Implants to its Employees
Who would have thought that a tech company will offer its employees the option of having a microchip implanted in their hand? Yes, we aren't talking about a Sci-Fi movie, but about a Wisconsin-based company, and it looks like its employees are eager to take the opportunity!
If you work for Three Square Market, aka 32Market, you can choose (or not) to have a microchip injected between your thumb and index fingers. So far, over 60% of the company's employees have chosen the microchip, which has a size that's similar with a grain of rice.
According to the company representatives, the microchipped employees can now open locked doors and pay for food in the cafeteria by simply waving their hands. It looks like this is the future, and many people want to be leaders of the pack. However, other employees are reluctant, thinking that implants aren't necessary. You could simply wear a ring that includes that microchip, after all.
A typical microchip includes a unique, 16-digit ID number, which is then linked to an external data source that may include your personal information: medical history, contact information, and so on.
Of course, microchip manufacturers claim that their products are safe and secure, but I think that it's too early to draw conclusions, considering the fact that this technology is still in its infancy.
To give you an example, nobody knows what encryption algorithms are used to secure our personal data. They could range from a simply XOR to the much more secure AES algorithm, for example. And what happens when these encrypting algorithms are cracked? Everyone would have to be re-chipped again, isn't it?
Another problem is privacy invasion. Who can guarantee that your employer (or other interested, third party organizations) won't use the info you're carrying at all times to spy on you? Most microchips are (or at least claim to be) plain RFID chip readers, they can't be used to track you, at least in theory. Still, a sensitive device may be able to read your data from 10-20 feet, which is more than enough.
It will definitely be possible to build GPS-enabled chips in the future, which would draw power from our bodies, making it possible for the interested parties to locate anyone on the planet. I agree that the technology can be used for good purposes, helping track missing persons or bad guys; however, it could also be used to stalk human rights activists, and so on.
Some researchers are concerned about potential health-related issues as well. It is true that the FDA has approved microchip implants for medical uses back in 2004, but today it is known that microchips may lead to infections or (much worse) can migrate to a different body area.
In fact, microchip implants have been known to cause cancer in hundreds of mice, according to a study from 2007. It's too early to draw conclusions when it comes to humans, of course, so I'll definitely pass on this one.