A Swedish company Epicenter implants microchips in its workers, these microchips are the size of bread crumb and is used as a swipe card to open doors, to use office machines and to purchase things by the wave of a hand.
“The biggest benefit, I think, is convenience,” stated Patrick Mesterton, co-founder and chief executive of Epicenter. To show how this works he opened a door by waving near it. “It basically replaces a lot of things you have, other communication devices, whether it be credit cards or keys.”
This technology is broadly used but not for implanting humans. Epicenter is one of the first companies to do such a thing. And of course, this raises the questions of security and privacy.
“Of course, putting things into your body is quite a big step to do, and it was even for me at first,” stated Mesterton.
“On the other hand, I mean, people have been implanting things into their body, like pacemakers and stuff to control your heart,” he stated. “That’s a way, way more serious thing than having a small chip that can actually communicate with devices.”
Epicenter is a large company which has around of 2,000 employees, they started microchipping employees in January 2015, and till now 150 employees have been implanted.
These microchips use near-field communication technology, or NFC, like contactless credit cards or mobile payments. They are activated by a reader just a few inches away, and when activated a small portion of data goes between the two devices by electromagnetic waves.
Ben Libberton, a microbiologist at Stockholm’s Karolinska Institute, claims that hackers can certainly obtain huge swaths of information from embedded microchips.
“The data that you could possibly get from a chip that is embedded in your body is a lot different from the data that you can get from a smartphone,” he states. “Conceptually, you could get data about your health, you could get data about your whereabouts, how often you’re working, how long you’re working, if you’re taking toilet breaks and things like that.”
The employees are not worried about these issues.
“People ask me, ‘Are you chipped?’ and I say, ‘Yes, why not?’” stated Fredric Kaijser, the 47-year-old chief experience officer at Epicenter. “And they all get excited about privacy issues and what that means and so forth. And for me it’s just a matter of I like to try new things and just see it as more of an enabler and what that would bring into the future.”
Epicenter employees have every month have gatherings where the participants can be implanted by their choice.
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