RIVER FALLS, Wisc. (CBSNewYork/CBSNews) – A Wisconsin company claims it will soon be the first in the country to implant microchips in most of its employees.
In Europe, the chips are replacing ID cards to open doors and more. But they are also raising concerns about privacy.
Next week, more than 50 Three Square Market employees will have bionic hands with credit card chips implanted near their wrists, CBS News’ Jamie Yuccas reported.
“Basically, it’s a serial number that is assigned to your credit card,” owner Todd Westby said.
The company is offering the chips, which cost about $300 a piece, to its employees for free. The owner, his wife and two children will also get microchipped.
When asked whether he’ll use the chips to track his employees’ locations and activities, Westby said “no, we will not.”
“It’s for entrance to the building, logging in to computers, making purchases in our break room market – things of that nature,” he said.
Employees will have two ways to get into the building. They can either use the traditional keypad with their ID number, or if they’re microchipped, they can just use their hands and swipe.
Three Square Market makes vending machines with credit card chip readers. Experts wonder if this is a publicity stunt and worry about the loss of privacy.
“Do you want someone knowing every time you enter or leave a room, or use a copy machine?” CNET Senior Editor Dan Ackerman wondered. “There’s a degree of autonomy that’s lost with this person-to-person, one-to-one tracking. You can never leave it behind. You can’t really turn it off.”
Three Square Market is working with a Swedish company to implant the microchips.
The chips are the size of a grain of rice and have to be put in by a professional piercer, Yuccas reported. The pain factor is similar to getting your ears pierced.
To take it out, it’s like removing a sliver.