Major UK firms to microchip employees

Legal and financial companies attracted by security and performance benefits

A micro-implant just underneath the skin
(Image credit: Adam Berry/AFP/Getty Images)

British companies are planning to microchip employees in a bid to boost security and stop them accessing sensitive areas.

Biohax, a Swedish company that provides human chip implants, told The Daily Telegraph that it is in talks with a number of major UK legal and financial firms - some of which have “hundreds of thousands” of employees - to implant staff with the devices.

The microchips are about the size of a grain of salt and use the same near field communication (NFC) technology as contactless bank cards.

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Injected into the fleshy area between the thumb and forefinger, they take just a couple of seconds to activate and sit just below the skin, making them less likely to be hacked.

Biohax founder Jowan Osterlund said that as well as boosting security, the chips can be used to help staff speed up their daily routines, by making it easier and quicker to get into buildings and access printers, for example, or even to buy food in the canteen.

“In a company with 200,000 employees, you can offer this as an opt-in. If you have a 15% uptake, that is still a huge number of people that won’t require a physical ID pass,” the former body piercer said.

The Sun reports that in Sweden the devices have already taken off among young people, who host “implant parties”, with 4,000 citizens now believed to be chipped.

“The miniature technology bypasses the need for cash, tickets, access cards and even social media,” adds the Daily Mail. However, “some people argue the conveniences gained from the procedure by so-called ‘body hackers’ do not outweigh the risks to their private data”, the newspaper notes.

But such concerns hasn’t prevented Biohax from drawing huge interest from businesses.

Last year around 100 commuters on Swedish train operator SJ used microchips to pay for their journey, while travel operator Tui and professional social media platform LinkedIn have also begun adopting microchipping. Meanwhile, software company Three Square Market teamed up with Biohax to become the first US company to microchip its staff.

Osterlund claims interest from British firms has been so significant that he is now planning to open an office in London next year.

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