Our reality is starting to look more and more like a dystopian sci-fi novel by the day, and Sweden seems to be well ahead of the curve when it comes to that.
The Scandinavian country started implanting its residents with microchips that enable them to pay with a swipe of the hand (without credit cards or cash), replace their national ID, enter offices or buildings (instead of keys and key cards), substitute gym cards and bus tickets, as well as monitor their health.
The cutting-edge technology has risen to popularity among Swedes, as thousands of them hopped on the microchipping train, even organizing and attending « Implant Parties » to have the insert done.
Although former tattooist and body piercer turned microchipping pioneer Jowan Österlund maintains that the technology and procedure are completely safe, it is deemed invasive enough and futuristic enough to cause concern.
Libberton, a British Sweden-based scientist, expressed his concerns, especially when it comes to the safety of the data the microchips can collect.
“People have shown they’re happy to give up privacy for convenience,” he stated. ” The chip is very convenient, so should we accept our data being shared very widely before we know the risks? ”
To gain a better understanding of said ‘risks’, we have to delve into how the technology actually works.
The microchips are about the size of a grain of rice and are deposited into the back of the hand, mostly above the thumb, through a syringe.
Using Near Field Communication (NFC) technology (also used in virtual collar plates for pets), when the small device is activated by a reader within a few centimeter’s distance, data is exchanged between the microchip and the reader through electromagnetic waves.
The implants themselves cannot read information, they are only able to generate it, which is why they are considered ‘passive’.
However, unlike other devices that generate the same type of data (Key cards, smartphones… etc), people who get the microchip implanted cannot easily separate themselves from it.