Thousands of people in Sweden are microchipping themselves in an effort to speed up their day. The Swedish are inserting microchips under the skin in their hands to make their daily lives easier.
According to a report by NPR, the microchips can be used for a plethora of different things. The chips are designed to speed up users’ daily routines and make their lives more convenient when accessing their homes, offices, and gyms. The microchips make it is as easy as swiping their hands against digital readers. The microchips can also be used to store emergency contact details, social media profiles, e-tickets for events, and rail journeys within Sweden.
At least one scientist is speaking out on the possible negative outcomes of having a massive number of people microchipped. Ben Libberton, a British scientist based in southern Sweden, is among those starting to campaign for lawmakers to keep a closer eye on developments.
“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,” he says.
Libberton, a trained microbiologist now working in science communication, says one of his main concerns is how the chips could be used to share data about our physical health and bodily functions.
“Because it’s implanted in your body, when more health-related information starts being used and incorporated into the chip and being transmitted - that could create an extra layer of privacy that we really need to look at and take care of before it’s widely used,” he says according to NPR.
So many in Sweden are signing up to be chipped that the main company producing the microchips says it cannot keep up with the demand for this technology. More than 4,000 Swedes have decided the technology would be perfect for them and have a microchip embedded in their hand, but with one company, Biohax International, dominating the market, demand is outpacing supply. The chipping firm was started five years ago by Jowan Österlund, a former professional body piercer. After spending the last two years working full time on the project, Österlund is currently developing training materials so he can hire Swedish doctors and nurses to help take on some of his heavy workloads.
“Having different cards and tokens verifying your identity to a bunch of different systems just doesn’t make sense,” Österlund says. “Using a chip means that the hyper-connected surroundings that you live in every day can be streamlined.”
Erik Frisk, a 30-year-old Web developer and designer, says he was really curious about the technology as soon as he heard about it and decided to get his own chip in 2016.
“It’s just completely passive, it has no energy source or anything. So when you tap it against a reader the chip sends back an ID that tells the reader which chip it is,” he explains. –NPR
Proponents of the tiny chips say they’re safe and almost pretty much protected from hacking. Almost…