This file photo shows an example of a microchip. (RHONA WISE/AFP/Getty Images)
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Under the guise of security and convenience, a Swedish company wants to microchip hundreds of thousands of employees at British companies.
Who's doing this?
The company, Biohax, is working with a number of UK legal and financial firms are negotiating programs to implant staffers with the devices, according to The Telegraph.
“One prospective client, which cannot be named, is a major financial services firm with ‘hundreds of thousands of employees,’ ” the report stated.
”These companies have sensitive documents they are dealing with,” Jowan Osterlund, the founder of Biohax and a former professional body piercer, told the news outlet. “[The chips] would allow them to set restrictions for whoever.”
A syringe is used to place the chip in an area between the thumb and forefinger, according to the report. Osterlund said the procedure is similar to ear piercing and takes “about two seconds." The microchips operate via “near field communication” technology, similar to what is used by no-contact bank cards.
“In a company with 200,000 employees, you can offer this as an opt-in,” Osterlund told the Telegraph.
Biohax teamed up with Wisconsin-based Three Square Market in 2017. The company became the first to offer microchips for free and about 50 signed up for the trial, according to the report.
In addition to controlling access to restricted areas, the microchips are billed as way for employees to speed up tasks such as accessing company printers or buying food from the company cafeteria.
Osterlund claims interest in the devices is so strong that he plans to open an office in London next year.
In Switzerland, an estimated 4,000 people are implanted with microchips, including about 85 of the 500 people employed by Tui, a travel operator. Biohax also has bout 800 customers use the chips for travel instead of using a train ticket, according to the report.
What's behind this?
Osterlund claims the microchips are just a community service that he offers. He told the Telegraph people who don’t like the idea are on a “learning curve.”
“If this came from a government, I’d be like yeah, you know what, no that’s not going happen," he said. "We’re a private actor, we’re doing this with our community, for our community.”
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