Ignoring Privacy Worries, Firm Implants Microchips In Employees

Employees from a company in Sweden are allowing employers to install microchips into their bodies that track their restroom breaks, work hours, and more.

Employees in Sweden are agreeing to have microchips implanted in their bodies by their employer, allowing the firm to keep track of their bathroom breaks and how many hours they work.

Epicenter, a Swedish firm based in Stockholm, offered to inject employees with these tracking devices for free. So far, 150 of the company's workforce have said yes, ABC reports.

Epicenter's Co-founder and Chief Executive Patrick Mesterton told reporters that the radio-frequency identification (RFID) chips are beneficial because they are convenient.

“You can do airline fares with it, you can also go to your local gym … So it basically replaces a lot of things you have other communication devices for, whether it be credit cards, or keys, or things like that.”

Comparing identification chips to pacemakers, Mesterton said that the technologies people have been implanting in their bodies for decades are “way more serious” than having a small chip that "can actually communicate with devices.”

Well, if said chip has the ability to track you and keep others informed of your every move, how is a pacemaker “more serious” than a RFID chip?

Epicenter's Chief Experience Officer Fredric Kaijser is also microchipped. And according to ABC, it's common for people to ask him about privacy issues.

To Ben Libberton, a microbiologist with the Karolinska Institute, a Swedish think tank and research organization, data available through the implanted chip is very different from data found on a person's smartphone.

“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,” he said.

To some, the idea of convenience is what's most appealing about the use of such chips.

“I usually lose a lot of things like my keys,” Sandra Haglof, an employee with Stockholm-based event company Eventomatic, said. That's why she's choosing to have the RFID chip implanted in her body. Saying that she wants to be “part of the future,” she added that the implant “will give me access and help me a lot more.”

While it's good to know these Swedish employees aren't being forced to have this technology implemented, the use of said chips in countries like the United States could be catastrophic. 

Our government is known for tapping into anything that can give them inside information into most of the population. Just imagine an agency like the National Security Agency hacking into your personal RFID chip to follow your every step without a warrant? Not the nicest thought in the world.

Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, Nigel Treblin

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