Swedes have begun inserting microchips under their skin in droves, raising privacy concerns.
The chips are around the size of a grain of rice and are typically injected under the skin just above the user’s thumb. The procedure, which costs just $180, is relatively painless.
The chips are designed to make day to day life easier by helping users complete daily tasks seamlessly.
The chips function as keys that permit entry into all kinds of premises, and events. The implants can also be used to store emergency contacts, social media, and health information and even function as credit cards or bus and train tickets.
“Having different cards and tokens verifying your identity to a bunch of different systems just doesn’t make sense,” Osterlund says to NPR. “Using a chip means that the hyper-connected surroundings that you live in every day can be streamlined.”
You could use your microchip to enter your office or home with a wave of your hand.
Sweden’s national railway has also jumped on the bandwagon, implementing a microchip reservation service that makes boarding easier for passengers.
The implants activate a telecommunications technology known as Near Field Communication (NFC), which enables them to passively store data that can be read by other devices, but does not allow them to actually read the data. The chips do not use energy and transmit their IDs passively to scanning devices. USA is following suit. Where next?
Of course, there are privacy and security concerns associated with the microchips but adopters argue that they are no more hackable than any other device (??? in other words they can be hacked) and may even be somewhat safer because they’ve been injected under the skin.
“What is happening now is relatively safe. But if it’s used everywhere, if every time you want to do something and instead of using a card you use your chip, it could be very, very easy to let go of [personal] information,” says Ben Libberton, a British scientist in Sweden.
If security concerns become more pressing, however, users always have the option of removing their chips.
(I have been saying for ages it will not be too long before we will have an identification chip planted in us shortly after birth. Watch this space!)
(My thanks to Lois Kay for suggesting this article.)