So they're going to make people into cyborgs ?
By the Kevin Warwick (aka "Captain Cyborg" ®) definition ?
An American company is offering its hapless employees microchip implants as a substitute employee ID card. Three Square Market of Wisconsin, USA, which makes vending machines (for some reason the firm impenetrably describes the crisps ‘n’ drinks dispensers as “micro markets”), says it will offer implantable RFID tags to its …
So are they going to pay for the operation to have the chip removed, say, when you leave the firm? Having these things removed after you leave the firm involves surgery. They have to numb your arm, make an incision, and grab the thing. If it has migrated (they are known to sometimes move quite a bit in chipped pets.), that can involve a large incision to fish it out. Might also involve x-rays if it has migrated.
It wouldn't HAVE to be removed, they could just invalidate it in the company's systems, and presumably it wouldn't be hurting anything left in your hand. Or wherever it migrates to.
If one was going to get an RFID implant (I'm not) you wouldn't want it to be 'installed' by a particular company. If they become popular for banking, starting your car, entering your house, unlocking your phone, identifying yourself at customs etc. are you supposed to stick a dozen of them in there? If a company has a problem and their DB of RFIDs is compromised they need you to add a 13th??
There would need to be some sort of standard so you could have one that can be programmed to install multiple certificates and remove compromised ones - there'd need to be an app for that, I guess!
We've been doing this to our pets for close to two decades.
You do remember that these are encapsulated in high-grade plastic?
There was an article on ElReg about doing this for hospital patients many years back to reduce hospital mistakes. The comments section: "They'll be monitoring us from dark vans driving past our houses!"
That would be every pet owner's wet dream except the size of the device antenna makes it physically impossible. No more lost pet flyers just hasn't happened.
You do remember that these are encapsulated in high-grade plastic?
Presumably plastic of a high enough grade not to cause problems in the typical 20-year-lifetime of an indoor cat (indoor dogs and outdoor cats can have shorter lives. Call it 25 years, since some cats manage to live that long.
So, good enough for 80 years in a human? Implant at 20, live until 100. No carcinogens, no toxic breakdown products, no allergic reactions, or anything like that. Right? Because we've proved it's safe in animals that typically live no longer than 20 years. Oh, and we tend not to do detailed autopsies on them to find out if their implant caused their demise.
Safe enough. Right?
Or maybe not. We need some test subjects. You can volunteer. By the time the experiment has concluded in 80 years, I'll be dead. And probably so will you. But your children will know if it was safe or not.
Call it 25 years, since some cats manage to live that long
Two of ours when I was young lived to 22 and 24. Our longest (so far) is 18..
Oh, and we tend not to do detailed autopsies on them to find out if their implant caused their demise.
Even in pets, there are cases of cysts or tumours that form around the implanted RFID tag.
That would be every pet owner's wet dream except the size of the device antenna makes it physically impossible.
Indeed. All the pets at chez COCM are chipped. We ask the vets to check them when they have their regular MOT and it's quite often difficult for the vets to locate them with the hand scanners that they use. I suppose you could have bigger scanners with a significantly higher signal but I suspect you'd then run a higher risk of the EMF heating causing the pet problems.
 Apart from the fish (and me, obviously).I'd like to see a vet trying to get an RFID tag through the armoured skin of a pleco..
They could stick your hand in an EMP cavity, possibly a Microwave, to zap the chip, and won't care if your hand or more is cooked too, because extraction surgery could be a lot more expensive for them, especially with or without a 360 Degree X-Ray of the hand... Another approach could be to put magnet attractive metal in the chip and use a powerful electromagnet to find it, and hope they never get sued for damages after a medical EMR (super-conducting electromagnet) scan over the hand! Who knows, an medical EMR scan may even zap the chip.
Anyhow, it's a really risky/dumb idea, because it could cause hand irritation and injury, and be a prevalent security risk, because it may not be feasible to fully RFi screen the chip outside work!
Mine's a bar code on the side of the knobshaft that gives me a discount on reproductive health products. But it never scans correctly at first- always registering as "baguette, small"- until they run it over the scanner a few more times, upon which it's changed to...
(not my joke, retold from one of the funniest things Simon the BOFH ever wrote)
They aren't vending machines, although many operators of vending machines offer micromarkets to their larger clients. A micromarket works pretty much like the self-checkout line in a supermarket customers pick their items from those shelves and coolers, then scan them and pay at a "kiosk." I'm not sure how many patrons will want to have an NFC chip implanted in order to streamline the payment process, but then, I can't understand why so many people use Twitter, either.
Automats are still very popular in the Netherlands. My favourite is the 'bami' - a block of Indonesian noodles, wrapped in breadcrumbs and deep fried. Delicious and costs about 1 euro
Sadly no poodle-skirted girls in most automats though!
Not really for hot food, but in Switzerland if you are stuck on a Sunday with no open shops there are huge robitoc vending machines at stations in big towns.
"If you believe that linking your payment cards and employee info to a $300 non-updatable device sounds like a bright idea."
I'm wonder what's special about the one used by the company in the article that it costs $300. If it's basically a company ID "badge", then why does it cost 15-30 times more than having your dog chipped?
At first I thought this must be an April fools joke... After just a moment of thought, many questions come to mind on to why this might be a bad idea:
*) So, what happens if you leave the company? If other companies do this, do they all share a single RFID chip, or do you end up with a bunch of chips?
*) How hard is this to remove?
*) Doesn't this make your location trackable? (Unless you wrap aluminium foil over your arm (or wherever), I guess).
*) Can't someone clone your RFID and pretend to be you? (Maybe getting free snacks :-) )
RFID tech has been pretty much spoof-proofed after years of use in entry cards, subway cards etc. Of course, that's really just a matter of making the expense of spoofing exceed the rewards of spoofing. A typical RFID thingy has an 8-byte hard-wired ID and some programmable memory for local stuff. Between the two you could create something that's more or less spoof-proof as defined above. Note they don't use RFID for access to bank safes (yet).
I had a mooch at the Biohax Sweeden site (aparently they are assisting with the implants) and they seem to use the NTAG216 chip.
Another quick mooch on t'internet and it seems chinese magic writable UID Ntag cards are a thing now.
Ask Kevin Mitnick...You're so wrong it's not funny. He's not even a real techie, mainly a social engineer, and RFID ID cards are so trivial he does it on stage for fun to sell his services. And can do it from a distance if necessary with nothing bigger than a backpack.
For a limited value thing it's probably safe, but what about when it's worth the thieves mugging a person and chopping off the RFID-equipped hand to go get something worth a lot more? I remember El Reg doing an article on a Mercedes owner who lost a finger so the thieves could activate the scanner on his expensive Merc.
"*) Doesn't this make your location trackable? (Unless you wrap aluminium foil over your arm (or wherever), I guess)."
No more so that your standard swipe card or RFID card many people in many companies already carry.
Rather than worry about tracking around the business, I'd want to know what the cost/benefits are for a $300 implanted RFID chip compared to an ID card costing pennies. As per the article, is this tech for the sake of "cool tech" or does the employer already have some feature creep in mind?
Doesn't this make your location trackable?
Only at very short range. There are HiD tags that can be used for inventory tracking round a store but they tend to be a good bit larger than the rice-sized RFID tags mentioned here (for one thing, you need a much larger antenna to pick up the voltage needed to return the signal)
might be convenient for waving at RFID detectors but there isn't much in there that isn't useful, much better to put it somewhere a bit of tissue damage won't be too incovenient - like your buttocks. Unless of course, you're a compo lawyer, in which case it's a great idea.
Plus I now know what bit of the CEOs anatomy to chop off when I want to break into the building i.e. both hands just in case they are left handed.
It is stated this company is in Wisconsin; specifically, it's the city of River Falls, on the western edge near Minnesota.
KSTP is nicely situated straddling the border between Minneapolis and St. Paul (= STP: check the call sign). Yes, ON the border -- and not just of two cities: two counties.
The station happens to be closer to that city than it is to my parents' house (in the exact opposite direction). I guess that makes it "local", compared to a further-away Wisconsin mass-media market such as Eau Claire.
But still -- to a born/raised Minnesotan... it just feels so WRONG.
I wonder what percentage of their total employees those 50 represent, and if the company offered them anything for doing it? Maybe half priced soda for a year?
Wisconsin has a healthy number of evangelicals, who you would think would be against this sort of thing with the whole 'mark of the beast' business. I wonder if any of their employees with those views are getting this, or looking for another job worrying that they will soon make this mandatory? Or blaming Obama for it?
One thing's for sure, this little Wisconsin company is getting worldwide attention - free advertising!
Just think about who's running the place, and it rather makes sense that it is Wisconsin. With a larger uptake of this idea, and all manner of jiggery-pokery is available to the fuckwits in charge...who needs gerrymandering, CrossCheck, and other such
voter-suppression electorate management techniques when all they have to do is have the voting machine identify the voter and appropriately modify his/her vote as needed to insure the continuation of a minority government?
Even if everyone had this, why would the voting machine need to identify someone to cheat? Just randomly turn a small number of votes for candidate A to candidate B. Done. The identify of the voter whose vote was changed is irrelevant.
Which is why I keep saying we need 1) a paper trail of every vote to allow for recounts and 2) mandatory recount of a few percent of precincts that are randomly chosen, with full statewide recount conducted if a difference larger than say 0.25% is found in any precinct.
"When they start putting these in newborns, I'll be very afraid!"
I'll be afraid when the they start requiring them for anything, right now they just worry me.
"Then again, chipping convicted felons might not be a bad idea."
Once a person has completed their sentence they should not continue to be punished for their crime.
a) we use the chips to decide whether to allow cats in/out of the house, or to feed
b) they don't cost anything *like* $300, even retail
c) they're strictly short range
d) multiple chips in an animal screw up the detection something wicked
e) what's wrong with implanting it in your watch-strap?
f) we get free soft drinks at work...
...but what if you end up in a situation where you've got several of these things in your body ? Making sure they're all far enough apart could be interesting...
"Let's see... Right hand for work access control, left hand for Oyster, right buttock for Tesco Clubcard"
(Tesco are issuing contactless Clubcards now, so I really shouldn't be giving them any ideas)
Plenty of RFID bracelet / wristband things out there, a lot less intrusive, no surgery involved, e.g. Barclaycard pushing their bPay solution (as mentioned on el Reg in the past)
The tags they add to animals leave quite a noticeable lump under the skin, so why bother (unless you like to cultivate knobbly extremities). Bear in mind your hand, wrist area is heavily supplied with nerves, blood vessels, not my top choice for implant site, as even though (you would hope), injecting the implant would not sever any of these, the compressive effects of the implant may not be great (human nerves are surprisingly susceptible to issues induced by low level pressure )
The tags they add to animals leave quite a noticeable lump under the skin
They shouldn't (none of my 7 have a lump where the pet-chip is). It's possible that the injector wasn't sufficiently sharp and has caused trauma at the site, leading to scar tissue forming.
What does leave a noticable lump is having the pelvis held together by titanium rods.. As our second-youngest cat discovered when she decided to argue with an oncoming car.
In 2006 I took a weekend break in Amsterdam (not to look in ... um ... windows, as it happens), and went there and back by train. So Eurostar to Brussels Midi, then allegedly Thalys to Amsterdam. (Behind that "allegedly" lies a whole other story, for another time.) And similarly in reverse on the way home, except that it really was Thalys.
Anyway, with a certain time to kill in Brussels Midi, I wandered around the station, and I found a "24 Hour Supermarket" that turned out to be a very large vending machine with a wide range of not-too-perishable products, of the sort you'd expect to find in a "convenience store" type operation.
It's the only time I've bought a full-sized bottle of wine from a vending machine, and I mean a *glass* bottle, not a plastic one. (No, it wasn't by any measure a great wine, but I've had worse.)
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