Not so long ago the idea that thousands of people would volunteer to have microchips implanted into their hands seemed like something out of a TV series about a dystopian future society, but it is already becoming a reality. Thousands of fanatical technology worshippers, as crazily devoted to their deity as any medieval religious cult it seems, have already had microchips implanted, by a Swedish company. There is a near stampede to get chipped and the company behind the scheme claims it is now working with very large global employers to implement RFID chipping on the corporate level.
Jowan Osterlund, CEO of the company, Biohax, recently told a UK newspaper The Daily Telegraph that they have been talking with a “major financial services firm” that has “hundreds of thousands of employees”…
from The Daily Telegraph:
Biohax, a Swedish company that provides human chip implants, told the Telegraph it was in talks with a number of UK legal and financial firms to implant staff with the devices.
One prospective client, which cannot be named, is a major financial services firm with “hundreds of thousands of employees.”
Global corporations face increasing criticism of their authoroitarian management cultures and cavalier attitudes to ethical and human rights issues. And with horror stories about hacking and cyber attacks constantly in the news, the corporate paranoia of these security-obsessed corporations is driving a rush to adopt this sort of technology. If all of your employees are chipped, you will always know where they are, and you will always know who has access to sensitive areas or sensitive information. Current RFID technology is not like GPS however, it has limited range and cannot be used to track people outside the workplace. But emplyees smart phones and other internet enabled devices are designed to do that.
According to Osterlund, Biohax, the procedure to implant a chip takes “about two seconds”, and it is usually implanted in the hand…
A syringe is used to place the chip in an area between the thumb and forefinger, according to the report. Osterlund said the procedure is similar to ear piercing and takes “about two seconds.” The microchips operate via “near field communication” technology, similar to what is used by no-contact bank cards.
“In a company with 200,000 employees, you can offer this as an opt-in,” Osterlund told the Telegraph.
Right now, many companies use security badges, and many of us are familiar with working in organisations that issue chipped identity cards. Biohax and tech fans say implanted chips are no different except that unlike security badges, which can be lost, stolen or forged, or taken off and locked in a desk drawer, an implanted chip is much more permanent and much more secure, and that is one of the big selling points. The following is what the chief medical officer of Biohax recently told Fox News…
“The chip implant is a secure way of ensuring that a person’s digital identity is linked to their physical identity. It enables access management in a way that protects individual self-sovereignty and allows users to control the privacy of their online activity,” Dr. Stewart Southey, the Chief Medical Officer at Biohax International, told Fox News.
Of course once this technology starts to be implemented, there will be some workers, and one would hope, almost 100% of trade union leaders that will object. But if it comes down to a choice between getting the implant or losing their jobs, how many workers do you think will choose to become unemployed?
(Subversive types might be interested to know if they obtain a circular neodymium magnet about 15mm diameter and atach it with the north pole next to the skin with surgical tape, leaving it in place for 48 hours, it will effectively neutralise the chip. Doing this might get you fired of course so make sure your union will support you)
Some people will sacrifice their jobs before they will accept this return to medieval serfdom, but given the ease with which corporate propaganda has persuaded people to accept Microsoft’;s ‘not-fit-for-purpose’ operating system, shift so much of their personal data to an electronic networking medium that offers less security than a prison without walls or use a search engine or a social media platform that will not just track users around the web after they leave those sites, but also invade your personal files and mine data from them that can be used to build ‘psychological profiles’ of us and enable people who buy that information to ‘target’ us more efectively with advertising, persuading the masses to accept being chipped is not going to be a hard sell..
Personally, I will never let anyone embed a chip in my body. But just like with so many other things (sic), most of the population will simply choose to accept the “new technology” because everybody else is doing it. We have already accepted contactless payment cards. Initially we were told the contactless feature on newly issued cards was only for payments up to £30 in Britain, but on holiday in Europe recently I noticed restaurant staff were trying to used it for bills of over €100, and a car hire clerk tried to use it for a €400 payment. And as a former IT professional who worked on securing systems for years, I can tell you this technology is highly insecure. My bank gives me the option of not enabling the feature but many banks are now insisting contactless is the preferred method of use. It’s the future, they chorus in a bid to make us feel inadequate.
OK, if you are affluent and are only buying a sandwich for lunch and end up paying for the tuna and mayo wrap and diet coke the person behind you at the till is having, it doesn’t hurt much but consider what could happen if somebody on a tight budget had their contactless card details skimmed. The equipment needed to ‘skim’ these cards and steal account details is very cheap and easy to obtain.
Here’s a query that was posted on a tech forum earlier this year: When my old debit card expired and a new one was sent, it came with this new feature. I wanted a way to disable it since each time I was scanning my RFID access card in my wallet, the detectors at work were picking up the debit card too. They’d beep twice and sometimes get confused. Not only this, but while my bank promises it’s secure, I’d rather not have a feature I don’t intend to use on the off-chance that it’s not.
Most methods of disabling the contactless feature on a debit or credit card involve physically mutilating the card, which I don’t like the idea of. A less destructive method is to locate where the rfid chip is positioned in your card and put a half inch square of copper tape (available from gardening stores or websites) over it on the back of the card.
In my experience when corporate businesses, the banks or technology companies tell us some innovation is for our benefit, either making life more convenient, or our finances more secure, in reality it is for their benefit. In my omnibus page Cashless Society I have reported many times on moves to eliminate the use of coinage and banknotes in the developed nations. It is claimed the reasoning behind this is to reduce crime and make financial activity more convenient. In fact a big part of the push to dump cash is to enable the electronic tracking of even our smallest purchases, the better to divine our habits and lifestyle choices from collected data.
Nothing is ever what it seems to be and RFID chip implants are no different. Apart from privacy issues and the principle of personal liberty, we must ask, as Marcus Tullius Cicero did two thousand years ago, Cui Bono. Who benefits? I’ll give you a clue, it isn’t people like you or me.