Microchipping Employees and Potential Workplace Surveillance

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British companies are planning to implant staff with microchips to improve security. Sputnik spoke about it to Katina Michael, professor of the Faculty of Engineering and Information Sciences at the University of Wollongong.

Sputnik: Could companies sell employees' personal data to third parties?

Katina Michael: The first thing to know is that before an employer considers selling implant discrete data to a third party, they would likely use it to monitor their staff. For example, for physical access control, the way staff congregate to exchange ideas, how often they use the restroom, how fast they may be finishing and completing some tasks. It is not to say that that would occur, but quite possibly it would be used as a timestamp device. In comparison, today we commonly find facial recognition or fingerprint recognition allows employees to log their time at work.

But a company now can use this technology to introspectively look at what employees are doing. I mean, we can consider employers today gathering data on their employees by using smartphones: I know a lot of companies sign off an agreement when they do offer their employees a company-sponsored smartphone, identifying that they may well log their locations and time based on the company smartphone. Otherwise, I don't believe that a corporation would sell that information.

Sputnik: But if companies were to sell personal data to third parties, what could employees do to prevent that from happening?

Katina Michael: Employees would not be able to block the distribution of data gathered from their implantable devices, unless they've signed some legal agreement not allowing consent to occur or through local workplace surveillance laws. And so they can block the corporation from sharing that information with other companies, such as health insurance providers.

Sputnik: Could employers know if staff contacted a competitor about a job?

Katina Michael: You have to consider that the diffusion of the implants is only a couple hundred people, for example, in the UK, and many of them are not in the employment context. In one case there was an implant device granted to someone with a systematic technology need, an amputee; and when we look at these more widely in the world we could say that probably a few thousand people at most, who are hobbyists to get an implant because they are infused by technology and progress, and being able to automate certain aspects of their life.

I don't believe that, for the time being, information would be provided when one implantee meets another implantee, because of the limitations of the mutual communication and the radio frequency identification being used in that technology. These technologies don't act like smartphones; for the time being the devices are proximity devices that require you to be no more than ten centimeters away from a reader.

Citation: Katina Michael and Laurie Timmers, 2018, “Businesses to Microchip Employees 'to Monitor' Staff”, Sputnik International News, https://sputniknews.com/analysis/201811121069747561-business-microchip--monitor-staff/

NFC Innovation Award

NFC Industry, Customer Experience and Product Design Leaders Share 2017 Outlook and Predictions on NFC Technology

Transport, IoT, wearables, cloud-based services experts from across the NFC technology sector – all judges for the new NFC Forum Innovations Awards — anticipate the NFC tech trends that will define 2017

As the entry process for the NFC Forum Innovation Awards gathers pace, we asked the experts on our Judging Panel to anticipate the NFC tech trends that will define 2017. The prestigious list of judges features a host of well-known names from across the NFC technology sector. This week we hear from: Dr. Katina Michael, IEEE and the University of Wollongong; Paul Gosden, Terminal Director, GSMA and Randy Vanderhoof, Executive Director, Smart Card Alliance.
NFC Forum Innovation Awards

We queried the esteemed panel of 9 judges about NFC innovation and what NFC trends they see happening in 2017. We will be sharing their responses over the next few weeks leading up to the entry deadline for the NFC Forum Innovation Awards. Companies and developers using NFC in new, disruptive and innovative ways are invited to submit award entries showcasing their work for the chance to win in one of three award categories. Semi-finalists will be invited to the NFC Innovation Awards Reception on March 14, 2017, in Las Vegas, which is co-located with the NFC Forum’s Members Meeting. Finalists receive two nights paid hotel room in Las Vegas, award trophy, global recognition and networking opportunities. There is no cost to enter and the deadline for award submissions is January 11, 2017.

Question: What NFC trend or new opportunity will ramp-up or emerge in 2017?

In 2017, we will see a great deal of experimentation continuing in the space of NFC-based humancentric applications. These opportunities will especially take the form of wearables and bearables for identity, physical access control, financial transactions, and even niche applications like prisoner verification systems that are NFC-enabled. Certainly, we are at the point where convergence in technology will mean NFC will be a part of just about any innovation that requires human to machine interaction (e.g. gaming) or even machine to machine interaction (e.g. supply chain). The underlying premise for the use of NFC is the “convenience” value proposition, which has the direct effect of increased usage.

Dr. Katina Michael is a senior member of the IEEE and is on the board for the IEEE Council on RFID. She is also the Associate Dean International at the University Of Wollongong, Australia

More here

The new way to pay with Smartwatches

Information systems and technology associate professor Katina Michael is worried about paying with wearables and other emerging contactless devices.

The University of Wollongong academic voiced her concerns at FST Media’s recent Future of Security in Financial Services Summit.

Michael said “lax security” of some contactless payment methods, for example, made it easier for juveniles to swipe $100 “from a parent’s card without their knowledge.”

Even when a second factor for authentication was introduced, it did not mask the underlying weakness of these newer platforms, she said.

“What are we doing introducing insecure technologies like NFC [near field communications] and ‘touch and go’ [payments] through different types of wearables and card tokens and then trying to back them up with some kind of second tier authentication like biometrics?” she said.

((M2 Communications disclaims all liability for information provided within M2 PressWIRE. Data supplied by named party/parties. Further information on M2 PressWIRE can be obtained at http://www.m2.com on the world wide web. Inquiries to info@m2.com)).

Citation: M2, March 18, 2015, "The new way to pay with Smartwatches", M2 Presswire.

Humans 'will be implanted with microchips'

All Australians could be implanted with microchips for tracking and identification within the next two or three generations, a prominent academic says. 

This VeriChip microchip contains identity and health information and is embedded under the skin. (AAP)

This VeriChip microchip contains identity and health information and is embedded under the skin. (AAP)

Michael G Michael from the University of Wollongong's School of Information Systems and Technology, has coined the term "uberveillance" to describe the emerging trend of all- encompassing surveillance.

"Uberveillance is not on the outside looking down, but on the inside looking out through a microchip that is embedded in our bodies," Dr Michael told ninemsn. 

Microchips are commonly implanted into animals to reveal identification details when scanned and similar devices have been used with Alzheimers patients. US company VeriChip is already using implantable microchips, which store a 16-digit unique identification number, on humans for medical purposes. 

"Our focus is on high-risk patients, and our product's ability to identify them and their medical records in an emergency," spokesperson Allison Tomek said. "We do not know when or if someone will develop an implantable microchip with GPS technology, but it is not an application we are pursuing."

Another form of uberveillance is the use of bracelets worn by dangerous prisoners which use global positioning systems to pinpoint their movements. But Dr Michael said the technology behind uberveillance would eventually lead to a black box small enough to fit on a tiny microchip and implanted in our bodies. 

This could also allow someone to be located in an emergency or for the identification of corpses after a large scale disaster or terrorist attack. "This black box will then be a witness to our actual movements, words — perhaps even our thoughts —-and play a similar role to the black box placed in an aircraft," he said. 

He also predicted that microchip implants and their infrastructure could eliminate the need for e-passports, etags, and secure ID cards. "Microchipping I think will eventually become compulsory in the context of identification within the frame of national security," he said.
Although uberveillance was only in its early phases, Dr Michael's wife, Katina Michael — a senior lecturer from UOW's School of Information Systems and Technology — said the ability to track and identify any individual was already possible.

"Anyone with a mobile phone can be tracked to 15m now," she said, pointing out that most mobile phone handsets now contained GPS receivers and radio frequency identification (RFID) readers. "The worst scenario is the absolute loss of human rights," she said. 

Wisconsin, North Dakota and four other states in the US have already outlawed the use of enforced microchipping. "Australia hasn't got specific regulations addressing these applications," she said. "We need to address the potential for misuse by amending privacy laws to ensure personal data protection."

Uberveillance has been nominated for Macquarie Dictionary's Word of the Year 2008.

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Citation: Josephine Asher, "Humans 'will be implanted with microchips'", ninemsn.com, January 30, 2009.

Addendum: The following comment was provided but was not included in the final production of the article for reasons of space and readability. I provide here regardless.

  • "Technology is not foolproof. That’s one of the paradoxes of these surveillance systems," Katina Michael said. "Our ethical and legislative discourse lags far behind the diffusion and application of location based services. "There needs to be some public discourse and debate."

  • Dr Katina Michael recently received a grant from the Australian Research Council to research and propose new regulations to address these new technologies. "Implants is only one small component of the research - the main things we’re investigating relate to consumer mobile location records and data protection, socio-ethical dilemmas related to social networking applications based on the tracking of other human beings and privacy.

  • "Where do we stop and where do we begin? We have to be very careful at this early point as the new capabilities and their effects on society are relatively untested," Katina said.