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March of the Cyborgs

Posted on Monday, May 01, 2017 12:38 PM

March of the Cyborgs - By Jocelynn Smith Privacy Invasion April 7, 2017


This is an article I thought was extremely important to security.  Though it appears, as it is written, to pertain to only personal security.  It can affect the workplace and employers.  The "cyborg chip" could be used for all sorts of applications and ramifications for personal as well as business complexities. Forget key cards and credit cards.  You don’t even need your smartphone.  We’re down to just a tiny chip in your hand.  Imagine heading into the office, and you unlock the door with just a wave of your hand in front of a sensor.  Then you stop off at the coffee kiosk for a latte and scone. Don’t reach for your wallet. Just wave your hand in front of another sensor, and the bill is deducted from your bank account.

This isn’t science fiction. It’s actually happening today and could change how you think about your private information…

Rise of the Cyborgs

Epicenter is a Swedish startup hub that is home to more than 100 companies and approximately 2,000 workers. And in 2015, the company started offering chip implants, creating what are referred to as “cyborgs.”

Injected into the fleshy web between a person’s thumb and index finger, the chip — which is no bigger than a grain of rice — is said to offer greater convenience, allowing a “cyborg” to unlock doors, pay for goods and even utilize office resources without needing keys, swipe cards or credit cards.

More than 150 people have been implanted since Epicenter started offering the chip, and it has even started having “chipping parties,” offering to implant interested employees for free.

This technology isn’t particularly new. It’s the same type of chip that we’ve been using to track our pets should they escape the house or yard. We’ve even started using these chips to track packages.

And now we can track employees…

It’s Not Your Data

The chips are “passive” in that they contain information that other devices can read, but they can’t read information themselves. The chips use near field communication technology similar to what’s used by contactless credit cards and in mobile payments. When an implanted user waves his hand in front of one of these readers, information flows from the chip to the reader. It’s that information that’s raising concerns and a lot of questions that need to be answered.

These chips are collecting a lot more than just a little random information about the wearer of the chip. With that chip, an employer can gather information such as: An employee’s movement throughout the course of a day.

  • Use of business resources.

  • What an employee purchases and their spending habits.

  • Personal health information.

But who owns this data? Does it belong to your employer to potentially exploit or even sell? Will this data be analyzed and used to decide your potential advancement within the company or even your next raise? These “cyborgs” are being lured in with the promise of convenience. Life just becomes a little bit easier without having to remember to grab your keys or a swipe card or a credit card. Just a wave of your hand and you get exactly what you want.

The only problem is that with this convenience, you are giving up more and more of your privacy.

And we’ve not even considered the potential for hackers to steal the information on that little chip in your hand.

Take Back Your Privacy

Your information and your privacy are yours alone to protect. As Ted Bauman pointed out at the start of the week, Washington is rolling back what limited protections exist to protect your personal browsing history, making it clear that lawmakers aren’t concerned about protecting your privacy.

If privacy is a bigger concern for you than enjoying the latest convenience that might save you an extra second or two, then we need to make sure that we’re always making smart choices.

Businesses need to make smart choices.  Though you could track employees, who could a company track through this chip?  Think about it.....

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