FOR­GOT YOUR SE­CU­RITY CARD? NO PROB­LEM

Wis­con­sin com­pany says em­ploy­ees can vol­un­teer to have chips im­planted in­stead

The Denver Post - - FRONT PAGE - By Dan Bey­ers

Three Square Mar­ket — a de­vel­oper of soft­ware used in vend­ing ma­chines — is of­fer­ing its em­ploy­ees the op­tion to get a mi­crochip im­planted be­tween the thumb and fore­fin­ger.

Would you ask an em­ployee to get a chip im­planted in her hand? Sounds in­va­sive and in­tru­sive. But come Aug. 1, one com­pany in Wis­con­sin will be giv­ing it a try.

Three Square Mar­ket — a de­vel­oper of soft­ware used in vend­ing ma­chines — is of­fer­ing all of its em­ploy­ees the op­tion to get a mi­crochip im­planted be­tween the thumb and fore­fin­ger. It’s quick, pain­less and the com­pany will even pick up the $300 fee. And don’t worry — there’s no GPS track­ing ca­pa­bil­ity. Yet.

The com­pany is ex­pect­ing 50 of its em­ploy­ees to vol­un­tar­ily sign up for the im­plants.

The RFID (ra­dio fre­quency ID) chips would al­low those em­ploy­ees who vol­un­teer to par­tic­i­pate in the pro­gram to open doors, pay for pur­chases, share busi­ness cards, store med­i­cal in­for­ma­tion, pay for stuff at other RFID ter­mi­nals and lo­gin to their com­put­ers — all with a wave of the hand.

“Even­tu­ally, this tech­nol­ogy will be­come stan­dard­ized al­low­ing you to use this as your pass­port, public tran­sit, all pur­chas­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties, etc.,” chief ex­ec­u­tive Todd Westby wrote in a blog post an­nounc­ing the pro­gram, claim­ing it would be the first of its kind in the U.S.

The pro­gram also is meant to be a re­al­life op­por­tu­nity for Westby’s com­pany to test and ex­pand the tech­nol­ogy for its own prod­ucts. “We see this as an­other pay­ment and iden­ti­fi­ca­tion op­tion that not only can be used in our mar­kets but our other self­check­out and self-ser­vice ap­pli­ca­tions that we are now de­ploy­ing which in­clude con­ve­nience stores and fit­ness cen­ters,” added an­other com­pany ex­ec­u­tive.

A Swedish or­ga­ni­za­tion named Epi­cen­ter be­gan do­ing the same thing ear­lier this year and its work­ers seem to love it. “Peo­ple ask me: ‘Are you chipped?’ And I say: ‘Yes, why not,’ ” one Epi­cen­ter em­ployee said in a CNBC re­port from April. “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.”

Three Square Mar­ket claims it will be the first com­pany in the U.S. to im­plant chips in its em­ploy­ees.

James Brooks, The As­so­ci­ated Press

Self-de­scribed “body hacker” Jowan Oster­lund from Bio­hax, Swe­den, holds a small mi­crochip im­plant, sim­i­lar to those im­planted into work­ers at Epi­cen­ter, which can open doors and op­er­ate of­fice equip­ment.

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