by Erin Elizabeth, Health Nut News:
Life is beginning to seem more and more of a 1984-like society where Big Brother is on the horizon. A year after a microchip implant, President of Three Square Market pays for his office snacks with a wave of his hand. Patrick McMullan voluntarily microchipped his thumb and forefinger to test its uses, with dozens of others at the company following suit.
The River Falls, Wisconsin technology company specializes in providing self-service “mini-markets” to hospitals, hotels, and company break rooms. Some employees of the company volunteered to have “subcutaneous” microchips injected into their hand to make life at the office easier back in the summer of 2017.
McMullan says he got the idea in early 2017 when visiting Sweden. The forward-thinking country introduced microchipping in 2015. As of July 2019 more than 4,000 people have opted for implants. The chips replace credit cards and assist with different activities including health monitoring and secure building access. It is part of Sweden’s efforts to go cashless.
The microchip’s designer is former body piercer Jowan Österlund, the founder of the company Biohax International.
The rice-sized chips also allow Three Square volunteers to log onto their computers. McMullan’s chip provides access to the Three Square building and carries medical information.
The volunteer group started out with 50 but now has an additional 30 employees microchipped. That accounts for almost a third of the employees using the chips. (1)
“You get used to it; it’s easy,” McMullan says. The only two people to request the chip’s removal did so when they moved on to new jobs. One of the microchipped employees says he uses his chips between 10 to 15 times daily. Sam Bengtson, a software engineer, says he finds swiping his microchipped hand no different than typing in his password. (1)
Steve Kassekert, vice president of finance says, “It’s just become such a part of my routine.” In fact, he is annoyed when the vending machine’s reader doesn’t work.
With the success of the experiment, Three Square is looking into the possibility of using chips outside the body. Testing at hospitals in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and Hudson, Wisconsin use chip bracelets to confirm staff wash their hands.
Of course, as with many technological advancements, there are concerns over privacy. According to Nick Anderson, an associate professor in public health sciences at the University of California the chips can also be used to track an employee’s whereabouts. (1)
Swedish scientist Ben Libberton is also concerned about how the microchips might be used. “If I use the chip to buy lunch, go to the gym and go to work, will someone have all of this info about me? Is this stored and is it safe,” he wonders. “It’s not just about the chip, but integration with other systems and data sharing.”