In this March 14, 2017, file photo, Jowan Osterlund from Biohax Sweden, holds a small microchip implant, similar to those implanted into workers at the Epicenter digital innovation business center during a party at the co-working space in central Stockholm.
James Brooks / ASSOCIATED PRESS
British companies are planning to microchip their employees in order to boost security and stop staff from accessing sensitive areas of the business, The Sunday Telegraph has learned.
Biohax, a Swedish tech firm, has disclosed it is in talks with a number of UK legal and financial services firms to implant workers with human chip devices. One prospective client, which the company said could not be named, is believed to be a major global auditing firm with “hundreds of thousands of employees”.
“These companies have sensitive documents they are dealing with,” said Jowan Osterlund, the founder of Biohax and a former professional body piercer. “[The chips] would allow them to set restrictions for whoever.”
The chips, about the size of a grain of rice, cost pounds 150 each and are similar to those used for pets. As well as restricting access to controlled areas, microchips could be used to buy food from the canteen, enter the building or access printers.
“There’s no losing it, there’s no dropping it, there’s no forgetting it. There’s always going to be an ultimate backup,” said Mr Osterlund. The microchips use near field communication — the same technology found in contactless bank cards.
In Sweden, around 4,000 citizens are chipped, including 85 of the 500 employees at travel operator Tui.
Mr Osterlund said he was aware not everyone would be keen on getting an implant at first.
“It’s a learning curve,” he said. “If this came from a government, I’d be like yeah, you know what, no that’s not going happen. We’re a private actor, we’re doing this with our community, for our community.”
Last year, Hampshire-based entrepreneur Steven Northam became the first person in the UK to be fitted with a microchip.
Like Biohax, he is offering the service to businesses and individuals through his company, BioTeq.
“It can have a huge impact on society and business,” he said. “In the future, we’re all likely to have one.”