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Wisconsin Company Will Let Employees Use Microchip Implants To Buy Snacks, Open Doors (theverge.com) 112

A Wisconsin company called Three Square Market will soon offer employees implantable chips to open doors, buy snacks, log in to computers, and use office equipment like copy machines. The chips use near field communication (NFC) technology and will be implanted between the thumb and forefinger of participating employees. According to The Verge, around 50 people are supposedly getting the optional implants. From the report: NFC chips are already used in a couple of workplaces in Europe; The Los Angeles Times reported on startup workspace Epicenter's chip program earlier this year. In the US, installing them is also a form of simple biohacking. They're essentially an extension of the chips you'd find in contactless smart cards or microchipped pets: passive devices that store very small amounts of information. A Swedish rail company also lets people use implants as a substitute for fare cards. 32M CEO Todd Westby is clearly trying to head off misunderstandings and paranoia by saying that they contain "no GPS tracking at all" -- because again, it's comparable to an office keycard here.
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Wisconsin Company Will Let Employees Use Microchip Implants To Buy Snacks, Open Doors

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  • Enough Already! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by nospam007 ( 722110 ) *

    This has been going on for roughly 5-10 years.
    Each and every time a company, a club a resort ...implements this, some dodo who has never heard of this, posts this here as 'news'.
    It's not.

    • Maybe not (Score:5, Interesting)

      by s.petry ( 762400 ) on Monday July 24, 2017 @04:37PM (#54870101)

      I think it's good to remind us of these Orwellian nightmare plots and schemes. IMHO this is an idiotic thing for anyone to do. Anytime it gets promoted people do, and should, push back.

      Burke "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."

      Sure, this company may not be evil. Who else can use these chips though? Are you sure they are all going to be altruistic?

      • Sure, this company may not be evil. Who else can use these chips though? Are you sure they are all going to be altruistic?

        Certainly not. I have no idea what that has to do with anything. Technology can be good or bad depending on how it's used. I wouldn't get one of these, but if someone else wants to...sure, have at. I'm not going to stop you.

        • by anegg ( 1390659 )

          RFID cards for toll booths started out as optional; now there are tolls that can only be paid using the RFID card (or, in some cases, a camera takes a picture of your license plate and you pay the toll plus a $3 surcharge for the "convenience").

          Could chip implants become required?

          • Could chip implants become required?

            Unlikely. Face, iris, and fingerprint recognition have improved so much that the chips are no longer necessary.

      • Shooting at the wrong target. You should be MUCH more concerned about your phone turning into something that is your official ID/government profile and be forced to use it in all interactions so everyone is positively identified at all times.
        • by s.petry ( 762400 )

          Except nobody is proposing that (so far). If politicians or corporations were pushing that, I would push back and be "MUCH" more concerned. I can only react to what happens though, not what "could" happen.

          • by epyT-R ( 613989 )

            Are you really that naive?

          • Except nobody is proposing that (so far).

            Every single financial institution that I deal with requires this. If I want to transfer money, or use a new device to login, they require that I confirm with a passcode sent to my cellphone.

    • "I am not a number. I am a free man!"

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nW-bFGzNMXw [youtube.com]

      Not news, indeed.

    • Re:Enough Already! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by ma1wrbu5tr ( 1066262 ) on Monday July 24, 2017 @05:06PM (#54870331) Journal
      As long as it remains "will let" and does not transition to "will require", I have no problem with this.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        It's not required, it's just that you'll be shunned and blackballed for rocking the boat in essence since there are plenty of team players we could hire that would love to save the company money and aggregate thier authority to a plantable tracking, error I mean passive, ya that's right, I mean passive, device.

      • There are a lot of provisions in Finnish labor law that forbid a lot of "will let" scenarios, because the employer transforms them into "must", de facto. The leverage that employers have always ends up transforming these de jure "at will" provisions into mandatory ones.

    • This has been going on for roughly 5-10 years.
      Each and every time a company, a club a resort ...implements this, some dodo who has never heard of this, posts this here as 'news'.
      It's not.

      + no ones quoted the Bible yet.
      Revelation 13:16 (Remember, this was written 2000 years ago)
      It also forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads, so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of its name.This calls for wisdom. Let the person who has insight calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man. That number is 666.

      • It also forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands

        Then the obvious solution to appease the Biblical literalists is to put the chips in the left hand.

      • by gnick ( 1211984 )

        This reminds me of a similar passage - Just as applicable today as when it was written:

        Woe to you, oh Earth and sea, for the Devil sends the Beast with wrath
        Because he knows the time is short
        Let him who hath understanding reckon the number of the Beast
        For it is a human number, its number is six hundred and sixty six

        ...
        Six six six the number of the Beast
        Six six six the one for you and me

  • What more can be said ;)
  • Health Issues? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ELCouz ( 1338259 ) on Monday July 24, 2017 @04:37PM (#54870105)
    What happen if health complications exist after implantation? Employer pay for that?
  • Severance? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by duke_cheetah2003 ( 862933 ) on Monday July 24, 2017 @04:38PM (#54870111) Homepage

    So what happens when you're fired, quit, retire, or otherwise leave this company's employment? Surgery to remove the implant? Who pays for that?

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      There's no need to remove it. It's a string of numbers contained in a NFC chip. The head office just disables the clearance associated with that string of numbers.

      • Depends on the Job (Score:4, Informative)

        by Roger W Moore ( 538166 ) on Monday July 24, 2017 @07:19PM (#54871285) Journal

        There's no need to remove it.

        That depends on what your next job is. If it involves working in an environment which may contain strong magnetic fields e.g. NMR/MRI, particle accelerators etc you need that thing removed. Also, depending on how paranoid airport security becomes, travelling with it in the future may be problematic.

    • So what happens when you're fired, quit, retire, or otherwise leave this company's employment? Surgery to remove the implant? Who pays for that?

      Probably not necessary. Each chip has a unique ID number. Simply delete that record from the access control file and your chip will no longer open any doors. It's the same way card entry systems typically work. That's one of their big advantages over physical keys.

      • Then you get another RFID tag for your next employer, and the reader has to try to read them both and check them both every time you want a pack of gum. Then you go to a fourth and a fifth employer, and your doctor is getting concerned about the amount of foreign material in the limited space in your hand.

        My company uses a badge for doors and the snack machine uses that and a PIN. The same thing can be done with the card number, and it doesn't stay with me for life.

        • by dissy ( 172727 )

          That's not how either of those items work however.

          Then you get another RFID tag for your next employer, and the reader has to try to read them both and check them both every time you want a pack of gum. Then you go to a fourth and a fifth employer, and your doctor is getting concerned about the amount of foreign material in the limited space in your hand.

          No you just have the one single implant.
          The previous company removes your NFC ID from their systems, and the new company adds that NFC ID to theirs.

          My company uses a badge for doors and the snack machine uses that and a PIN. The same thing can be done with the card number, and it doesn't stay with me for life.

          Actually the badge ID system is used on the assumption that your badge WILL stay with you, or at least accounts for that possibility.

          Yes they ask that the badge be returned, simply because it cost up to $2 and can be reused.
          But the system doesn't assume it will be returned, and that's why the ID linked to the bad

          • what about temps / contractors / etc that you don't have full control over.

            • by dissy ( 172727 )

              I'm fairly sure our temp agency has contracts with their workers to return company property.
              But I work in IT, not in HR, so I'm not really sure how that all is handled.

              From my end of things, over a decade of working here I've only had two individuals come to me asking for replacement badges.
              In one case the badge was snapped in half nearly all the way through, although this was after 12+ years of use.
              In the other case the person lost their badge, and this was after a couple years of employment as well.

              In bot

              • well putting an implant into temps / contractors may be hard and the temp agency may really over change for an removal fee

                • by dissy ( 172727 )

                  I was speaking of badge cards being issued, not implants.

                  Generally companies in the US don't tend to define temps or contractors as employees, but I can't say if that's the case here.
                  Neither the article nor the article in the article is too clear, but it does say "offering ALL employees"...

                  Seeing as it only costs about $50 or less to have the same chip implanted in your cat or dog, even with the insane US healthcare prices it's not like the process is a huge investment of money.

                  Either way though, the soluti

                  • not like the process is a huge investment of money. but if the temp place has to change X2-X3 the temps hour rate for the doctor visit time to remove it + maybe an fee to make up for lose of use of the temp that could be on a different job.

                    • by dissy ( 172727 )

                      That's exactly why I said a temp worker shouldn't consider this an option, even if the current company was paying for the implant.

                      As for removal, and this applies to anyone thinking about getting one of these, one should keep in mind installation is much simpler all around than removal is.

                      Installation is fast (~15 minutes), being injected under the skin by a tool looking like a novelty sized needle, done under local anesthetic at a doctors office.

                      Removal would require cutting the skin open, and then stitche

          • cards have site ID's / different groups. In some systems you can't just add any card # range / other stuff that makes recusing them not that easy.

            • by dissy ( 172727 )

              RFID cards tend to heavily rely on having a site ID pre-programmed at the factory, but at least when it comes to the NFC ISO standard there is no site ID anymore, just a very long unique ID.

              This is the take that smartphones equipped with NFC hardware utilize, mainly for compatibility sake.
              I would very much hope the implantable NFC chips are also using this same standard.

              Obviously one can use any protocol over NFC including proprietary ones, and it seems some banking type cards do exactly that, but it seems

          • No you just have the one single implant.
            The previous company removes your NFC ID from their systems, and the new company adds that NFC ID to theirs.

            That assumes they use the same tags, which is not a safe assumption.

            • by dissy ( 172727 )

              That assumes they use the same tags, which is not a safe assumption.

              Perhaps not a safe assumption between different companies, but at least purely going by the description given in this example I think it is a good assumption.

              Obviously one can use any non-standard protocol over NFC they wish, but there are ISO standards for this sort of thing that are inter-compatible.

              That is also the assumption smartphone makers use which mostly works out OK.
              NFC equipped phones can speak ISO standards, and any proprietary standards for payment/credit type processing (think apple pay)

              In thi

    • So what happens when you're fired, quit, retire, or otherwise leave this company's employment? Surgery to remove the implant? Who pays for that?

      The same people that bust into houses and take credit cards back.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Injecting something under the skin seems a lot less temporary than a henna-type tattoo that you could (eventually) wash off.

    Why not formulate an RF sensitive ink? You could 'print' IDs like in all those post-Apocalypse Christian stories about marks of the beast. Bonuses if it looks like the company logo under black-light. It would be like cattle branding 2.0. Or a Neil Stephenson novel.

    • Why not formulate an RF sensitive ink?

      R&D costs for such a thing aside, every NFC tag has a silicon chip that actually stores and calculates information. So unless you are looking to print an entire IC on someone's hand, it's kind of a no-go idea.

    • why not use a god damn thumb-print?

    • Injecting something under the skin seems a lot less temporary than a henna-type tattoo that you could (eventually) wash off.

      I'm not all that worried about that aspect of it - we have been chipmarking pets and other animals for a long time, and we know it is very safe. It has a lot of advantages in terms of identification (although it is also potentially something that can be forged). Applications like finance and healthcare spring to mind, as well as personalising your mobile and other gadgets so they only work if the right person hold them. There's two questions, though: would people in general want ot be easily identifiable? A

  • It's comparable to an office keycard.

    Present:
    Most of us: alright then, we'll continue to use keycards instead.

    In the near future:
    Companies/governments: if you still use keycards you are terrorists.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 24, 2017 @04:40PM (#54870135)

    Who in their right mind would let their employer implant them with a microchip of any kind. or implant them with anything at all

    • This is future. You do not want it, I do not want it. But it will happen.

    • Yep, idiots - that's who. Oh, and people who are so desperate for a job they can't get one anywhere else.

      Once enough of them have 'voluntarily' signed up, it'll become 'best practice' and 'commonplace' and so mandatory.

  • Don't forget to wrap your hand in tinfoil mittens to stop people from remotely stealing the code in your bio implanted chip.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    https://news.fastcompany.com/that-company-microchipping-its-employees-is-owned-by-a-major-prison-vendor-4044282

  • by Anonymous Coward

    They really need to have a way to turn these implants off.

    It's great opening a door without reaching for keys and stuff like that. It's not so great is if EVERY SINGLE device that can read RFID (from doors to ads) knows you've been near it and what you were doing - especially since we can be sure that data will be bundled and uploaded to marketers as well as the spooks.

    When people figure out it's not all wonderful, what then? More surgery to get it out?

  • by dlleigh ( 313922 ) on Monday July 24, 2017 @04:59PM (#54870283)

    This will cut down on the company's health insurance premiums because the employees are no longer eligible for expensive MRIs.

  • Why not just start using some simple, common piece of jewelry as a housing for the device? Most people are fairly good at avoiding losing them permanently, and they're easily replaceable if they're lost/stolen/compromised. Before getting into "slippery slopes" and other played out debates, doesn't it make something resembling sense to not make such a thing permanent? Do they have some massive overstock of pet chips to get rid of or something?
    • It is a prison supply company, they're not doing something evil to their employees, they're just testing the systems temporarily and getting discounts on snacks for their trouble.

      When they use it on prisoners it might be a big improvement, mostly because they don't have any privacy or freedom anyways, and the guards are often bad people. So increased automation is likely to be appreciated by the users.

  • Jeez, just put it in a small ring I can wear. Why would you voluntarily implant something in your skin that you could just carry around?
  • And let it open the assholes of the CXXs who think this is a good idea.

    / not gay
    // not that there's anything wrong with that
    /// except sticking my dick in a dude's asshole gives me the heebeejeebees
  • "CEO Todd Westby is clearly trying to head off misunderstandings and paranoia by saying that they contain "no GPS tracking at all" -- because again, it's comparable to an office keycard here"
    This is the marketing spin coming from security companies or the government in hacker movies, books, and video games, where the hacker ties everything together and can trace anyone. Watchdogs for instance.
  • If you want RFID on your hand rather than a badge, what about using a ring instead? You just slip it on as you get ready for work and slip it off when you get home. Why doesn't anyone come up with this?
  • I completely approve of subcutaneous embedded RFID technology for authentication! Four automatic votes here! (raises both hands, each grasping two severed arms) BLIP. BLIP. BLIP. BLIP.

    • raises both hands, each grasping two severed arms

      Each hand is one vote.
      If each hand grasps two severed arms, it is six votes altogether.
      Six is an even number.
      Six is an odd number of votes for a person to have.
      The only number both odd and even is infinity.
      Therefore, this person has an infinite number of votes.

  • I've had an RFID implant chip in my hand for 4 years now, and love it.

    The doors on my house and garage door opener are all controlled by RFID, as are the doors and trunk on my vehicles. (I'm currently working on installing RFID locks/servos on the glove boxes and center console compartments)

    Beyond never getting locked out, it's just incredibly convenient, such as when I'm outside doing yard work, and need something from my garage, I don't have to enter my house, take off the dirty shoes/gloves, to open

  • How long before this is used against the employees
  • So we're normalizing this now. This is sick. The company will let them. Every worker doesn't see it as a choice. There is no other option if any human doesn't want to play the wealth game. The relationship is not one of equality. The reward is not distributed equally. But, slashdots new evil overlords choose to frame the discussion as though the 'option' is not horrifically misguided.

Let's organize this thing and take all the fun out of it.

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