Chipped at Work
In some ways, it sounds like a huge convenience. Get implanted with a chip that magically opens doors and provides secure access to areas of work. No more keys, passwords, or any of a number of security hassles.
Three Square Market, a company in Wisconsin, has done just that. It’s the first company in the US to do so, although Epicenter, a Swedish company, had already done it. Employees have the option to be implanted with a tiny radio-frequency identification (RFID) chip between the thumb and forefinger. The chip uses near-field communications, similar to that used for contactless credit cards, to provide access.
More than 50 of the company’s 80 staff volunteered to be chipped. It only takes a few seconds to implant the chip, which is the size of a grain of rice.
Is Three Square Market at the forefront of where things are heading in workplace security? While some may like the convenience of never having to remember keys, pass codes, or badges, the technology can easily track your every move at work. Taking too long in the washroom or going too often? Taking too long to complete a task? Talking too long with a colleague?
It may be more convenient to be chipped at work, but at what cost? The possibility for misuse of the technology and the invasion of workers’ privacy is easy to see. And how long before “optional” chipping becomes required to get or keep your job?
The company said the device has no capacity to track workers. “Your cellphone does 100 times more reporting of data than does an RFID chip,” said Todd Westby, Three Square’s CEO.
Sources: pcmag.com, New York Times, Three Square Market