UK: Why I want a microchip implant

This article has been removed from several sites and only a very edited version is currently available at a ‘ghost’ site. Below is the complete article. The author does not cover the fact that implanted microchips have been found to cause deadly cancerous tumors in animals.

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  • Would you like to have an RFID microchip implanted under your skin?  If you are anything like me, you would never allow such a thing to be done. But many others, especially among the younger generations, see things very differently.  RFID microchip implants and other forms of “wearable technology” are increasingly being viewed as “cool”, “trendy” and “cutting edge” by young people that wish to “enhance” themselves. And of course the mainstream media is all in favor of these “technological advancements”.
    For example, the BBC just published a piece entitled “Why I Want A Microchip Implant“.  We are told that such implants could solve a whole host of societal problems.  Identity theft and credit card fraud would be nearly eliminated, many other forms of crime would be significantly reduced, children would never go missing and we wouldn’t have to remember a vast array of passwords and PIN numbers like we do now.  We are told that if we just adopted such technology that our lives would be so much better.  But is that really the case?As our society becomes “digitally integrated”, technologists tell us that it is “inevitable” that wearable technology will become as common as smart phones are today.  And the BBC article that I just mentioned is very eager for that day to arrive…

    Medical history

    This chip, manufactured in the early 2000s by a company called VeriChip, stores personal medical information. (Rhona Wise/AFP/Getty)
    A few years ago, I perched on the edge of my bed in a tiny flat, breathing in a cloud of acetone fumes, using a scalpel to pick at the corner of an electronic travel card. More than 10 million Londoners use these Oyster cards to ride the city’s public transport network. I had decided to dissect mine. After letting the card sit in pink nail polish remover for a week, the plastic had softened enough that I could peel apart the layers. Buried inside was a tiny microchip attached to a fine copper wire: the radio frequency identification (RFID) chip.
    My goal was to bury the chip under my skin, so that the machine barriers at the entrance to the Underground would fly open with a wave of my hand, as if I was some kind of technological wizard. But although I had the chip and an ex-Royal Marines medic willing to do the surgery, I failed to get my hands on the high-grade silicone I’d need to coat the chip to prevent my body reacting against it. Since then, people have used the technique I helped popularise to put liberated Oyster chips in bracelets, rings, magic wands, even fruit, but the prize for first London transport cyborg is still up for grabs.The person who does will find themselves inducted into the community of “grinders” – hobbyists who modify their own body with technological improvements.  Just as you might find petrol heads poring over an engine, or hackers tinkering away at software code, grinders dream up ways to tweak their own bodies. One of the most popular upgrades is to implant a microchip under the skin, usually in the soft webbing between the thumb and forefinger.

  • All in hand
    Many people now have chips implanted in the fleshy part between thumb and index finger. (Amal Graafstra/Dangerous Things)
    Take Amal Graafstra, a self-described “adventure technologist” and founder of biohacking company Dangerous Things in Seattle, Washington. He is a double implantee – he has a microchip in each hand.

    In his right hand is a re-writable chip, the same kind used in Oyster travel cards, which can be used to store small amounts of data. By pressing his hand to his phone, information can be downloaded from his body or uploaded into it. The left contains a simple identity number that can be scanned to unlock his front door, log into his computer or even start a motorbike (see video, below)
  • First cyborg
    British researcher Kevin Warwick was one of the first people to have a chip implanted – in his forearm. (Rex Features)
    This month at the Transhuman Visions conference in San Francisco, Graafstra set up an “implantation station” offering attendees the chance to be chipped at $50 a time. Using a large needle designed for microchipping pets, Graafstra injected a glass-coated RFID tag the size of a rice grain into each volunteer. By the end of the day Graafstra had created 15 new cyborgs.
    For other people,though, the idea of implanting themselves with microchips may conjure up spectres of surveillance and totalitarian control. “Every Hollywood movie has told them that implants are for tracking people,” says Graafsta. “People don’t get that it’s the same exact technology as the card in your wallet. When someone uses a credit card, wireless or not, they are tracked because several other corporations know who they are, when they purchased, how much they spent, and where they spent it.”
    Yet if that’s true, what’s the point of implanting it? Graafstra and his fellow cyborgs could just as easily use a chip inside plastic wallet to store data, and a key to open his front door or start a motorbike. “Yes, basically you’ve taken an RFID access card normally stored in a pants pocket and moved it to a skin pocket,” admits Graafstra. Still, there are some advantages: one benefit is that you’ll never lose the chip, and it makes physical theft impossible – at least unless a thief is prepared for some gruesome surgery.
    Graafsta also points out that embedding the chip under the skin reduces the distance that it can be read with a scanner, making it more secure.  When it’s in your arm or hand, there’s less chance someone can surreptitiously scan your details, by sweeping a card reader nearby.
  • Multi-functional
    Warwick’s sub-skin chip allowed him to be tracked and unlock doors; others have used their chips to start vehicles. (Science Photo Library)
    Ultimately, implanted microchips offer a way to make your physical body machine-readable. Currently, there is no single standard of communicating with the machines that underpin society – from building access panels to ATMs – but an endless diversity of identification systems: magnetic strips, passwords, PIN numbers, security questions, and dongles. All of these are attempts to bridge the divide between your digital and physical identity, and if you forget or lose them, you are suddenly cut off from your bank account, your gym, your ride home, your proof of ID, and more. An implanted chip, by contrast, could act as our universal identity token for navigating the machine-regulated world.
    Yet to work, such a chip would need to be truly universal and account for potential obsolescence. My own flirtation with implanted technology came to an end when I moved away from London, making an Oyster-equipped hand pointless. Even with a return to London on the cards, I’m thinking twice about returning to my project, since Oyster cards are being phased out.Such a development may actually be a cause for optimism for implant enthusiasts, however, because instead of Oyster cards, London’s transport authority is allowing people to ride the subways and buses using bank cards. It marks the beginnings of a slow move toward a world where everything will be accessed from a single RFID microchip. If that day comes, I can’t think of a safer place to keep it than inside my own body. 

  • Tasty chips
    Some companies, such as Proteus Digital Health, are developing electronic sensors that can be swallowed. (Proteus Digital Health)
  • And for some people, that day is already here.  In fact, at some technology conferences people actually line up to get chipped…This month at the Transhuman Visions conference in San Francisco, Graafstra set up an “implantation station” offering attendees the chance to be chipped at $50 a time. Using a large needle designed for microchipping pets, Graafstra injected a glass-coated RFID tag the size of a rice grain into each volunteer. By the end of the day Graafstra had created 15 new cyborgs.How creepy is that?

    In addition, scientists have now developed batteries that are powered by the human body that could be used to provide a permanent power source for implantable technology.  The following is a brief excerpt from a recent article by Kristan Harris entitled “Scientists Develop Human-Powered Battery For RFID Implantable Chips“…

    A group of United States and Chinese researchers have collaborated to created a tiny implantable batteries that feed off of human energy. These thin, flexible mechanical energy harvesters have had been successfully tested on cows. The process uses what is known as conformal piezoelectric energy harvesting and storage from motions of the heart, lung, and diaphragm.

    It the future, they say, it could be used to power a range of gadgets. Will it be long until you will charge your I-phone by plugging into your own body?

    Of course RFID microchips don’t actually have to be implanted to be useful.  In fact, they are already being used to track schoolchildren all over the United States

    Upon arriving in the morning, according to the Associated Press, each student at the CCC-George Miller preschool will don a jersey with a stitched in RFID chip. As the kids go about the business of learning, sensors in the school will record their movements, collecting attendance for both classes and meals. Officials from the school have claimed they’re only recording information they’re required to provide while receiving federal funds for their Headstart program.And over in the UK, RFID microchips are being used to track children wherever they go all day long

    For those who think the NSA the worst invader of privacy, I invite you to share an afternoon with Aiden and Foster, two 11-year-old boys, as they wrap up a Friday at school. Aiden invites his friend home to hang out and they text their parents, who agree to the plan.

    As they ride on the bus Foster’s phone and a sensor on a wristband alert the school and his parents of a deviation from his normal route. The school has been notified that he is heading to Aiden’s house so the police are not called.

    As they enter the house, the integrated home network recognizes Aiden and pings an advisory to his parents, both out at work, who receive the messages on phones and tablets.

     

  • Smart eyes
    Google is exploring the idea of electronics in the eye, held on a contact lens, to monitor health. (Google)
  • Cyber cat
    Pets like this cat are routinely chipped to help locate them if they become lost. (Wikicommons)
    We are rapidly entering a dystopian future in which it will be “normal” for technology to monitor our movements 24 hours a day.  Most people will probably welcome this change, but it also opens up the door for an oppressive government to someday greatly abuse this technology.

  • Another type of “wearable technology” that is rapidly gaining acceptance is “smart tattoos”.Normally, we are accustomed to thinking of tattoos as body art.  But that is about to change.  Just check out this excerpt from a recent Gizmodo article… Everyone from neurologists to biohackers is reinventing the very idea of the tattoo. With the right technology, tattoos can do a lot more than just look beautiful or badass. They can become digital devices as useful and complex as the smartphone that bounces around in your pocket. It sounds wildly futuristic, but the technology already exists.

    In fact, a company called MC10 is working on a wide range of “smart tattoos” that will be able to do some pretty wild things

    Materials scientist John Rogers is doing some pretty incredible work with flexible electronics that stick to your skin like a temporary tattoo. These so-called “epidural electronics” can do anything from monitoring your body’s vital signs to alerting you when you’re starting to get a sunburn. Rogers and his company MC10 are currently trying to figure out ways to get the electronics to communicate with other devices like smartphones so that they can start building apps.

    Thinking ink

    An alternative to implanted chips is the “electronic tattoo”, an adhesive worn on the skin. (John Rogers Research Group)
With a chip under your skin, you can do everything from unlocking doors to starting motorbikes, says Frank Swain, who has been trying to get his own implant.

And Motorola actually has a patent for a tattoo that will take commands from unvocalized words in your throat…

The tattoo they have in mind is actually one that will be emblazoned over your vocal cords to intercept subtle voice commands — perhaps even subvocal commands, or even the fully internal whisperings that fail to pluck the vocal cords when not given full cerebral approval. One might even conclude that they are not just patenting device communications from a patch of smartskin, but communications from your soul.

They are calling it “wearable computing”, and what we are witnessing now is just the tip of the iceberg.

What we will see in the future is probably far beyond anything that any of us could imagine right now. The following is from a recent Computer World article

But imagine a future where anything you might want to know simply appears to you without any action or effort on your part. You could be eating in a restaurant, and Google Glass could, for example, tell you that it’s the spot where your father proposed to your mother. Or that your friend will be late because of traffic, the salmon got bad reviews online, your parking meter will expire in 20 minutes, or the bathroom is through the bar and up the stairs to the right. Imagine that such knowledge could simply appear into your field of vision at the exact moment when you want to know it.

That’s where wearable computing is going.

All of this may sound very “cool” to a lot of people.

But what happens if we are all required to have “electronic identity tattoos” someday?

What happens if an oppressive government uses this technology to watch, track, monitor and control all of us 24 hours a day with this technology?

What happens if you are not able to get a job, have a bank account or buy anything without “proper identification”?

I think that you can see where I am going with this.

Technology is truly a double-edged sword.  It can do great good, but it can also be used for great evil.

So what do you think about all of this?  Please feel free to share your thoughts by posting a comment below…

About the author: Michael T. Snyder is a former Washington D.C. attorney who now publishes The Truth. His new thriller entitled “The Beginning Of The End” is now available on Amazon.com.

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