Here’s a totally normal and reasonable thing that doesn’t point to any disturbing trends towards mass surveillance of citizens by a Big Brother-esque police state: The Chicago Tribune reports that Three Square Market, a Wisconsin-based company that develops software used in vending machines, is asking employees to volunteer to have a RFID (Radio Frequency ID) microchip implanted between their thumb and forefinger. The company, which will cover the $300 implantation fee for everyone who signs up, says the chip is an opportunity to test out some of its own self-checkout technology, with the chip serving as a next-level version of the smartphone pay technology Hannibal Buress uses to buy sandwiches on TV.
The chip can also open doors and log in to computers with a wave of the hand, which is pretty cool, and can store identifying information about its host that TSM chief executive Todd Westby says will someday serve as “your passport, public transit, all purchasing opportunities, etc.” The etc. is, as always, the spooky part, and the Tribune rather ominously writes, ”don’t worry-there’s no GPS tracking capability ... yet.” If and when that capability does come online, it’ll be interesting to see if those with chips already implanted have the option to opt out of GPS tracking, or if they’ll have to do things the Total Recall way.
TSM says it will be the first company in the U.S.to try this new technology. As the Tribune reports, a Swedish company, Epicenter, inserted microchips into its employees earlier this year, leading to a new office greeting: ”Are you chipped?”
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