Microchip Implants for Employees? One Company Says Yes
At first blush, it sounds like the talk of a conspiracy theorist: a company implanting microchips under employees’ skin. But it’s not a conspiracy, and employees are lining up for the opportunity.
On Aug. 1, employees at Three Square Market, a technology company in Wisconsin, can choose to have a chip the size of a grain of rice injected between their thumb and index finger. Once that is done, any task involving radio-frequency identification technology — swiping into the office building, paying for food in the cafeteria — can be accomplished with a wave of the hand.
8月1日，威斯康星州科技公司Three Square Market的雇员，可以挑选在自己的拇指和食指之间植入一枚米粒大小的芯片。一旦完成植入，任何涉及射频识别技术的事项——开启办公楼的门禁、在食堂为食物付款——都可以在挥手之间完成。
The program is not mandatory, but as of Monday, more than 50 out of 80 employees at Three Square’s headquarters in River Falls, Wisconsin, had volunteered.
The program — a partnership between Three Square Market and Swedish company Biohax International — is believed to be the first of its kind in the United States, but it has already been done at a Swedish company, Epicenter. It raises a variety of questions, both privacy- and health-related. 纽约时报中英文网 http://www.2zhicat.com
该项目——由Three Square Market和瑞典企业Biohax International合作实施——据信将在美国开同类项目的先河，不过瑞典公司Epicenter已经做过类似的事情。它带来了种种问题，既关乎隐私，也关乎健康。
“Companies often claim that these chips are secure and encrypted,” said Alessandro Acquisti, a professor of information technology and public policy at Carnegie Mellon University’s Heinz College. But “encrypted” is “a pretty vague term,” he said, “which could include anything from a truly secure product to something that is easily hackable.”
“企业常常宣称这些芯片很安全，经过加密，”卡内基梅隆大学(Carnegie Mellon University)海因茨学院(Heinz College)信息科技与公共政策教授亚历山德罗·奎斯蒂(Alessandro Acquisti)说。但“加密”是“一个相当模糊的说法，”他说，“所涉范畴甚广，既有真正安全的产品，也有很容易被入侵的东西”。
Another potential problem, Acquisti said, is that technology designed for one purpose may later be used for another. A microchip implanted today to allow for easy building access and payments could, in theory, be used later in more invasive ways: to track the length of employees’ bathroom or lunch breaks, for instance, without their consent or even their knowledge.
Todd Westby, chief executive of Three Square, emphasized that the chip’s capabilities were limited. “All it is is an RFID chip reader,” he said. “It’s not a GPS tracking device. It’s a passive device and can only give data when data’s requested.”
Three Square Market首席执行官托德·韦斯特比(Todd Westby)强调，芯片的功能是有限的。“它只不过是射频识别阅读器芯片，”他说，“而非GPS追踪设备。它是被动型设备，只有在收来数据索取请求时才会提供数据。”
Health concerns are more difficult to assess. Implantable radio-frequency transponder systems were approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2004 for medical uses. But in rare cases, according to the FDA, the implantation site may become infected, or the chip may migrate elsewhere in the body.
健康方面的担忧更加难以评估。2004年，美国食品与药品治理局（Food and Drug Administration，简称FDA）批准将可植入射频应答系统用于医疗用途。但来自FDA的信息显示，在极少数情况下，植入位置或许会发生感染，芯片还有可能会迁移来身体的其他部位。