One Company Has Implanted Tracking Microchips In 150 Employees

Image courtesy of joneses

Though it might sound kind of cool to wave your hand at a door and have it open like you’re Obi Wan Kenobi, would you be willing to let your company implant a microchip in your hand, the better to track your movements with?

A Swedish startup hub called Epicenter has been offering that technology to its workers and members since 2015, reports The Associated Press, with 150 people so far choosing to carry tiny chips around in their bodies.

The implants are injected between between the thumb and index finger, and act like a company ID card might, using Near Field Communication technology that allows the bearer to operate office equipment, buy food, or open doors by waving their hand.

Then there’s the not-so-Jedi-like part: the fact that the thing is always keeping tabs on the worker — generating data about when they’re on the job, where they went and when. Run to the bathroom more often one morning? The chip knows. Buy four bags of Cheetos for lunch? The chip knows.

This raises some privacy issues, as a microbiologist points out to the AP that it’s possible hackers could steal information about your health, your work schedule, and other data from such chips.

Despite the potentially creepy cyborg factor, the chips have proven so popular that workers who already have the chips have been hosting parties for others who are thinking about getting implanted.

“People ask me; ‘Are you chipped?’ and I say; ‘Yes, why not,'” Fredric Kaijser, the chief experience officer at Epicenter, told the AP. He holds monthly events where workers can be “chipped” for free.

Some of the chipped workers admit they first had doubts, but then again, people implant things like pacemakers and other devices in their bodies already.

“That’s a way, way more serious thing than having a small chip that can actually communicate with devices,” as one worker told the AP.

What with Elon Musk’s plan to connect humans more closely with machines, it sounds like our future robot overlords will have a lot to work with when they finally decide to make a move.