Implanted employees become a reality

Posted on 5 Aug 2017 by Michael Cruickshank

A company in the US appears has taken the unusual step of being one of the first in the world to implant chips in its employees.

A doctor implants an RFID chip into the hand of a researcher. Image courtesy of Wikipedia.
A doctor implants an RFID chip into the hand of a researcher. Image courtesy of Wikipedia.

Three Square Market, a technology company located in the state of Wisconsin offered to implant small microchips in its employees on a voluntary basis.

These devices would contain an RFID chip which could be used for basic functions such as opening building doors or paying for food at the company’s cafeteria.

Reportedly 50 out of the 80 employees at the company took it up on this offer and accepted the implants which were themselves built by a Swedish company called Biohax International.

Potential for manufacturers

While this is likely the first such time this tech has been used in a business environment, in the coming years it will likely begin to become more and more widespread.

For manufacturers, these kinds of implants could have significant advantages over existing methods of security and employee control.

Use cases include chips which would prevent unqualified employees from using dangerous factory equipment, as well as automated equipment which can detect the presence of a human employee and pause its operation until they pass.

Data security could also be massively improved with computer terminals only being accessible to their direct operators or system admins.

Finally, personnel security could also be modernized, as work areas and car parks could easily be restricted to only employees or certain approved guests.

Privacy risks

Of course, all of this will come at a cost, but not necessarily a significant financial one. Instead, companies will pay for this technology with a loss of worker privacy and the potential backlash this may generate.

Specifically, this technology could enable employers to track their employees at all times, and there would be little to stop unscrupulous companies from using it in ways to which these employees had not consented.

With this in mind, the implementation of this technology could, in the short term harm the PR image of a company and damage its prospects for finding high-end talent, at least until use of this tech is normalized.