As some of you have surely noticed, old breathtaking fantastic fiction films steadily become our reality today. But, should we wave goodbye to wallets and welcome implanted microchips with open arms?
Has anybody of you encountered with inconvenience when the wallet somehow got lost in the bag or because of your goldfish memory stayed at home? Hey, we’re living in the world of cutting-edge technologies, why do we still have to lug around the rarely-used discount cards with us all the time as well as fiddle with irritating keys at the front door? It shouldn’t be our concern since technology has far surpassed the demand for any of these things.
Originally, the idea came to the mind of Swedes back in 2015, who seem more willing to try the technology than most other nations. It is so mainstream there that, since June 2017, people have even been able to buy train tickets with their microchips. You must admit it’s more practical to have a surgically inserted microchip than such services like Apple Pay or smart locks on your phone, which can be lost and hacked. So an increasing number of people, including approximately 3,000 Swedes, are opting for implanted microchips.
The chip itself is the size of a grain of rice despite it could hold the key to many aspects of our life, considerably simplifying it. The microchip implanted in the hand between a thumb and a forefinger and basically functions as a digital keychain. The subcutaneous chip intended to help people do things like hold entry codes, unlock and start their car, gain access to certain vending machines or printers, log on to computers, sign into the gym, make credit card payments.
“In the past year, the chip has turned into a kind of electronic handbag and has even replaced my gym card”– says Ulrika Celsing, one of 3,000 Swedes, who have injected a microchip into her hand to try out a new way of life.
Over time, as the technology doesn’t stand still, the implant will be able to do even more. However, the question arose whether are these chip implants a step toward future where employers track their subjects’ every movement? Or are they simply an easy way to log in to accounts and open doors with a wave of a hand?
Nick Anderson, an associate professor in public health sciences at the University of California, Davis, says the privacy and security of any information stored on the chips is a conspicuous concern. The implants use Near Field Communication (NFC) technology, also used in credit cards, and are “passive”, which means they hold data that can be read by other devices but cannot read information themselves. Actually, NFC chips right below the skin give corporations a fair amount of control over you — they could track where you are, how long you take for lunch every day, or how often you go to the restroom if the chip were scanned by a reader. Moreover, abandoning this kind of data collection is too much complicated when you’ve got a chip implanted in your body tissues.
Maybe we are really stuck with small keypads and overstuffed wallets. But is carrying a key or remembering a password so difficult or potentially risky? Without additional safeguards and guarantees of privacy, the microchipping quirk may quickly become a digital security nightmare.