Nothing Could Possibly Go Wrong: Swedish Company Implants Microchips in Staff

January 31, 2015 Updated: February 3, 2015

A Swedish company is offering workers to have an RFID microchip implanted under their skin instead of using an ID card.

The chip is about the size of a grain of sand, according to the BBC, and is placed in the hands of employees should they request it. Like an ID card, the chip allows access to doors, use the photo-copier, and other work services.

The company offering the chip is Epicenter, a high-tech company in Stockholm. The firm hopes that the some 700 employees at the workplace uses the chip, according to the report.

The chips store personal security information that can be transmitted over short distances.

Hannes Sjoblad, head of the Sweden-based BioNyfiken–the company that performs the chip implants–told the broadcaster: “Today it’s a bit messy – we need pin codes and passwords – wouldn’t it be easy to just touch with your hand?”

“We want to be able to understand this technology before big corporates and big government come to us and say everyone should get chipped – the tax authority chip, the Google or Facebook chip,” he added.

When the BBC surveyed employees, it seemed that some weren’t too happy with the development. “Absolutely not,” said one worker when asked if he would sign up for it.

A BBC reporter also got the chip implanted in his hand, noting that “it was not all that intuitive – I had to twist my hand into an unnatural position to make the photocopier work.”

RFID microchip implants are the subject of a number of Internet conspiracy theories, with some likening it to the “mark of the beast,” as mentioned in the Bible. It’s also been used as the subject of numerous Internet hoaxes.

And according to a 2012 Forbes report, implanting a RFID chip involves using a high-gauge syringe.

“Then he plunges the plastic handle and withdraws the needle. A small crowd of onlookers applauds. The first subject of the day has been successfully chipped,” the report reads. 

“The practical appeal of an RFID implant, in theory, is quick authentication that’s faster, cheaper and more reliable than other biometrics like thumbprints or facial scans. When the chip is hit with a radio frequency signal, it emits a unique identifier number that functions like a long, unguessable password. Implantees like Andrew imagine the ability to unclutter their pockets of keys and keycards and instead access their cars, computers, and homes with with a mere wave of the hand,” said the report.