Tuesday, May 02, 2017

The future has arrived ... subcutaneous microchips

When people started to implant microchips in their dogs, I started worrying.  Before I get to my worries, more about this animal microchip.  Did you know that in England every dog has to have a microchip?  When I present it to you that way, you perhaps a slight creepy sensation.

Let us take it one more step.  Did you know that cows are microchipped (is that even a proper usage, I don't care) which then lets the cowboy/rancher/dairy owner know when it is in heat and, therefore, when it should be inseminated?  Getting creepier?

We are on a slippery slope, my friend.  While we have not started putting a microchip on every newborn baby--yet--think about the smartphone you have.  Thanks to the signals constantly bouncing between your phone and "them," they know exactly where you are at any given time.  When an employer gives you a work phone, ahem, they can track you 24x7.  The microchip has not been planted on you, but you are carrying it with you.

But, if you thought that microchip implants on humans is not a thing for now, well, think again.
The company [Epicenter] offers to implant its workers and start-up members with microchips the size of grains of rice that function as swipe cards: to open doors, operate printers or buy smoothies with a wave of the hand.
Do you now have creepy sensations running all through your body?  You now wonder if that small bump on your hand is nothing but a microchip that was implanted when you thought you were merely getting a flu shot?
never before has the technology been used to tag employees on a broad scale. Epicenter and a handful of other companies are the first to make chip implants broadly available.
And as with most new technologies, it raises security and privacy issues. Although the chips are biologically safe, the data they generate can show how often employees come to work or what they buy. Unlike company swipe cards or smartphones, which can generate the same data, people cannot easily separate themselves from the chips.
Aren't you also worried now that the dystopian future is just round the corner?

Of course, it is not only your employer and "they" who can track you and know everything about you, if they decide to go that route, hackers will have an awesome time as well:
Ben Libberton, a microbiologist at Stockholm's Karolinska Institute, says hackers could conceivably gain huge swaths of information from embedded microchips. The ethical dilemmas will become bigger the more sophisticated the microchips become.
“The data that you could possibly get from a chip that is embedded in your body is a lot different from the data that you can get from a smartphone,” he says. “Conceptually, you could get data about your health, you could get data about your whereabouts, how often you're working, how long you're working, if you're taking toilet breaks and things like that.”
Libberton said that if such information is collected, the big question remains of what happens to it, who uses it and for what purpose.
Have a nice day!


Ramesh said...

I am less worried about the employer keeping tabs on me. I am more worried about your government keeping tabs on me over whom they have absolutely no jurisdiction. And for saying this, Snowden has to live in exile in Russia.

The Orwellian state is far more scary than anything any employer can do.

Sriram Khé said...

The "they" includes employers ... but, of course, employers are only a tiny slice of "they"

Most read this past month