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article imageU.S. plant in Wisconsin offers employees microchip implants

By Ken Hanly     Jul 26, 2017 in Technology
Three Square Market a U.S. Wisconsin-based company is about to become the first in the U.S. to offer microchip implants to its employees.
Chief Executive Officer of Three Square Market, Todd Westby said: "It's the next thing that's inevitably going to happen, and we want to be a part of it." The company is based in Hudson Wisconsin and designs software for vending machines in office break rooms.
Westby notes that people now are able to purchase items at the market through smartphones, he wants his employees to be able to do the same thing using a microchip implanted in the employee's hand. Westby demonstrated how the device would work at an actual break room kiosk: "We'll come up, scan the item. We'll hit pay with a credit card, and it's asking to swipe my proximity payment now. I'll hold my hand up, just like my cell phone, and it'll pay for my product."
The microchips are small, about the size of a grain of rice. Over 50 Three Square Market employees are to have the chips implanted starting next week. The chips will function not only to pay for purchases such as food in the company cafeteria, but also to open the front door of the office and also to log onto the company computers. The cost of each chip is $300 paid for by the company and the chip is implanted between the thumb and forefinger. The data is encrypted and secure. There is no GPS tracking of employee movement. The implant program is purely voluntary.
While the Three Square Market program is thought to be the first in the U.S., the Swedish company Epicenter already offers them to workers. The Three Square Market company is one of a number of companies targeting offices to sell all sorts of gadgets some of them almost Orwellian. Companies actually make badges that collects anonymized data on how people communicate and also make light bulbs that track office movements.
Epicenter's program also is voluntary. Epicenter is a digital hub in Stockholm housing more than 300 startups for larger companies. The RFID implants unlock doors, operate printers, open storage lockers and purchase items at the cafeteria just by the wave of a hand. The use of these chips has been ongoing for some time. The FDA approved their use in health care in 2004. Some are enthusiastic as bio-hacker Hannes Sioblad said in 2014: “This is a fun thing, a conversation starter. It opens up interesting discussions about what it means to be human. This is not just for opening doors.” The appended video shows how the use of the chips can be customized.
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