The Bob Pritchard Column https://bobpritchard.com/
In August, 2017, employees at Three Square Market got RFID chips implanted between their thumb and forefinger. Now 20 months later, instead of the backlash that many expected, the staff love it.
The chips are about the size of a grain of rice. The implants use Near Field Communication (NFC) technology, also used in credit cards, and are “passive”, which means they hold data that can be read by other devices but cannot read information themselves. They make it easier to do things like get into the office, log on to computers, and buy food and drinks in the company cafeteria. Like many RFID chips, they are passive—they don’t have batteries, and instead get their power from an RFID reader when it requests data from the chip
When an employee wants something from the snack food and beverage vending machines they simply wave their hand over the reader and the vending machine immediately deducts money from their account. The employees have been doing likewise for nearly two years now. Three Square Market is a technology company that provides self-service mini-markets to hospitals, hotels, and company break rooms. In 2017, their employees volunteered to have a chip injected into their hand.
While the implantation of microchips is foreign to people in the United States, in Sweden, it is not unusual for people get subcutaneous microchips to do a whole range of things. Many Swedes favor convenience over concerns of potential personal data violations. The small implants were first used in 2015 in Sweden and several other countries. Swedes have gone on to be very active in microchipping, with scant debate about issues surrounding its use, in a country keen on new technology and where the sharing of personal information is held up as a sign of a transparent society.
Swedes can use the injected microchip to enter their workplace, use vending machines, provide access to certain equipment in the office, book train tickets, even replaced gym cards. On trains conductors scan passengers’ hands after the tickets are registered on their chip. Citizens have long accepted the sharing of their personal details, registered by the social security system, with other administrative bodies, while people can find out each others’ salaries through a quick phone call to the tax authority.
Some believe the biggest risk was around the data contained in the chip. The real question is what data is collected and who shares it. For example, if a chip can detect a medical problem, who finds out and when? Others argue the opposite view, suggesting that if we carried all our personal data on us, we would have better control of its use.
Some staff at Three Square Market uses their chips up to 15 times a day. Swiping their hand over an RFID reader plugged into their computer is no different from typing in their password on a keyboard. In fact, when the RFID reader on the vending machine went down a couple of months ago, staff were really upset, feeling inconvenienced because it has become such a part of their routine.
The privacy and security of any information stored on the chips is an obvious concern. The information gathered by readers could give lots of details about employees’ comings and goings, and someone could in theory ping your chip with a reader to find out what’s on it. But it can be argued that similar personal information could be stolen from his wallet, too. There’s also the chance that the technology inside the employees’ bodies will become outdated.
I guess when that happens you simply get an upgrade.
(Ik:- not sure why the company does not programme the fingerprint into the database and employee can store all relevant information there for company to use?)Posted on April 17, 2019