RFID (radio frequency identification) implants – ready or not, here they come.
Many conspiracy theorists and religious groups are having a field day with this extremely controversial topic, especially surrounding implanting RFID chips into human beings. As we all witness technology swiftly advancing, it’s not all that difficult to consider a system with no need to carry or exchange cash. A simple swipe of your hand could instantly pay for your groceries, provide your identification and crucial medical information. A microchip can find a lost child, start your car, allow you access to your office and home, and that’s just to get started.
A reasonable amount of apprehension is expected when considering implanting a RFID chip beneath your skin as a permanent fixture. While most of us are still contemplating this moral dilemma, there are indeed companies currently implanting microchips into their employees and pet owners into their pets for years.
It was recently announced this year, that Swedish company, BioHax international is manufacturing these microchips for a U.S. vending machine company in Wisconsin, Three Square Market. They are the first known U.S. Company to offer their employees free and voluntary microchip implants. The chip, being the size of a grain of rice, is inserted in the employees hand between their thumb and forefinger under a local anesthetic. This practice was to be implemented on the 1 August 2017.
These RFID implants allow its users to:
- Make payments
- Open doors
- Access Computer log-ins
- Share business cards
- Unlock phones
- Use copy machines
- Store health information
Three square market have assured its employees that the RFID implants do not contain GPS capabilities and employees could not be tracked. Personal information, only chosen by the employees, can be linked to the chip. There is a possibility though, that the functionality of the chip could change once inserted. You can read more on this story here.
If that’s not sci-fi enough for you, ‘bio-chips’ have also now been developed. This includes a combination of computer circuitry, human cells and DNA, with other biological elements. Scientists have connected human studies to specific computer systems and were able to project their mental images on to computer monitors, whether they were awake or asleep. The human rights laws surrounding this, as you can imagine, are quite extensive regarding ethics and privacy.
We’ve read the many benefits portrayed to us by the media of how the implant simplifies your finances, contains important medical information, and allows access to secure locations and technological systems.
Why then are so many up in arms?
A ten year scientific study by innovative company, VeriChip, who previously manufactured the human microchips, came forward with information concerning microchips which had been implanted into animals. The study concluded that a significant number of the animals which had had the chip implanted, had tumors growing around the chip. News of this, resulted in the company’s sales rapidly decreasing and it going out of business. During 1996 and 2006, the findings were published in veterinary and toxicology journals, stating numerous lab mice and rats, which were injected with microchips, had developed ‘subcutaneous ‘’sarcomas’’ – malignant tumors, most of them encasing the implants’. The effects of microchips on humans have not yet been tested or confirmed, owing to ethical reasons.
In order for the tag in the microchip to be activated, the transceiver has constantly to produce a radio signal, which can have a range from a few meters to a few kilometers. This is then transmitted through the antenna in the microchip. All this activity causes electro-hypersensitivity in the user. A neuroscientist has confirmed a few known disturbing effects of electromagnetic energy on the human body in this article. Some negative effects of the electromagnetic radiation are: an increase in allergies and allergy symptoms, certain cancers, and long-term DNA fragmentation’s. Also reported, a decrease in the effectiveness of certain drugs used to treat breast cancer. This radiation can also be found in cell phones, the electronic devices you carry around with you, and the wireless internet.
Risk of freedom and privacy
When sending a parcel, your consignment is monitored by RFID tracking devices, ensuring that a simple internet search can speedily pinpoint the exact location of your goods. The tracking technology of RFID’s are their main feature. The ethical issues arise when the microchips are inserted into human beings for reasons other than medical purposes. This entails, in effect, the complete surrender of the freedom of your physical body, and thus your right to personal privacy. You would be completely unaware if anyone was attempting to hack into the confidential information contained in your device. Thus, crucially sensitive data, such as your bank account passwords, can be used to defraud you.
Considering your RFID has the capability of starting your car, accessing your computer and phone, buying food and making payments, would you rest content knowing you are not entirely in control of your life and personal environment? What if those controlling these devices should suddenly deny you access to your home or office? In a system that does not exchange cash, what would happen to you if you haven’t money left in your bank account?
Our smartphones already offer information to marketers and authorities on our exact locations, what food we eat, and what our interests are. There is no doubt, that more laws are required to protect your right to privacy. What seemed a futuristic concept in the past, mandatory, governmentally-imposed implantations, appear to be gaining on us steadily. Where do you stand in the battle of man versus machine?