Human Microchip Implants: Will You Be Forced to Get One?

As we move farther into the 21st century, the more technology seems to engulf our everyday life. It’s absolutely everywhere, from our homes to our cars, within the workplace and schools. The average US citizen passes up to 75 cameras in a single day. It can really start to get under your skin. Literally. Countries across the globe are taking microchip technology and implanting them into human beings. But why? What are they exactly? Can they do more harm than good? The answers to these questions should seriously be explored to get an accurate understanding of how these implants may eventually affect your life.

Understanding Microchip Implants

The technology behind these chips has been available for decades and are currently used for identifying livestock, pets, and even tracking packages. But in more recent times, the companies that manufacture these devices are trying to expand the use of this technology in humans. Microchip implants, or RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) implants, use electromagnetic coupling as a wireless means of identifying objects. The frequency range varies depending on the type of chip manufactured. The table below shows the various ranges in comparison to the average microwave. 

These chips are about the size of a large grain of rice and placed under the skin between the thumb and index finger. They have the capability of allowing users to conveniently speed up everyday routines, such as paying for purchases, going to the gym, accessing locked doors, providing emergency contact information, and so much more. All of this can be done with one swipe of the hand over a digital reader. Sounds pretty cool right? 

In 2006, IDTechEx reported the top 10 countries that were researching and testing chip implants in humans. The report at that time showed that the US had confirmed over 800 pending case studies. These numbers have only continued to steadily increase since then. In 2017, Sweden confirmed that at least 3,500 residents had voluntarily had the implants embedded. In Australia, it’s being advertised as being “super-human” and hundred so people are flocking in to voluntarily be implanted.

How Employers Are Responding

Three Square Market company in Wisconsin became the first to microchip employees. What has been their response? The employees had a lot of important questions that needed to be answered. One major concern from employees is whether or not the chip has GPS tracking capability. The answer is no. It can actually be compared to the chips within credit cards. The chip is only designed to provide the appropriate information whenever the appropriate device scans it. As of July 2017, at least 50 out of 85 employees have been implanted. But you can’t help but ask, is there microchip technology out there that can track your location? Absolutely! Even though this particular employer does not implant their employees with micro GPS tracking chips, they are available and can be implanted into humans. So, it’s important for you to understand what type of chip you are being presented with if you are considering being implanted.

Lawmakers in within the United States have decided to protect employee’s rights by creating a law that prohibits employers requiring employees to get a microchip. Anyone that would like to get the chip has to provide written consent before it is implanted. Even though there are no reports of this ever being an issue with employers, they want people to feel comfortable in the workplace as this new technology is explored.

RFID Microchip Security

If an individual decides would like to get the implant, you need to insert the chip into a hypodermic needle and import the device under the skin. It then would be necessary to upload all your personal information to the chip after activation, such as your driver’s license, passwords to electronic devices, credit card information, etc. From there, you can hold your cell phone up to your hand and unlock it with ease. But this can pose a problem in the future. Companies can decide to change the purpose of collecting data that was voluntarily approved by implanted users. A great example of this would be DNA testing services that provide you information on your family’s genetic roots. At first, the databases were used to help families identify their countries of origin and help to locate long lost family members. Now the US government is using the same information to zone in on the location of criminals based on DNA collected at crime scenes. Although this is not a bad reason for using the DNA data, those involved have no rights and privacy over their own personal DNA and how it will be used in the future.

Surrendering all of your personal data can also raise concerns on how secure your information is against hackers. The chip is said to have a 256-bit encrypted password to protect your information. However, as with most technology, it is not 100% impossible to hack. The chip can be scanned through an object that is thicker than a cardboard box. But it is still believed to be much safer than having your credit cards and personal information in your wallet.

Are There Any Health Risks?

Since the chips were first implanted in 1998 by a British scientist Kevin Warwick, there has not been any reported negative impact on any user’s health and it is still within the FDA’s standards and guidelines. There is a risk of infection when actually importing the device under the skin. Cleaning the area of the skin and using medical practices when inserting the needle will decrease this risk drastically. As far as long-term use of the microchip under the skin, that data is just not known. So, we can confidently say, only time will tell.

Sources

https://www.idtechex.com/research/articles/hot_countries_for_rfid_00000505.asp

https://www.npr.org/2018/10/22/658808705/thousands-of-swedes-are-inserting-microchips-under-their-skin

https://internetofthingsagenda.techtarget.com/definition/RFID-radio-frequency-identification

https://theconversation.com/thousands-of-swedes-are-inserting-microchips-into-themselves-heres-why-97741

http://www.mondaq.com/unitedstates/x/371474/employee+rights+labour+relations/Several+US+States+Prohibit+the+Mandatory+Implantation+of+RFID+Microchips

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-40710051

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