By Amanda Froelich,
Just two decades ago, the idea of inserting identification microchips into the general populace was perceived as a far-off, futuristic idea. But now, it’s a reality. In Sweden, more than 4,000 residents have received microchip implants that contain essential details about their identities. For over a year, participants have been using the miniature technology to bypass the need for cash, concert and movie tickets, and even access into their homes and offices.
The Daily Mail reports that BioHax International is the market leader behind the controversial scheme. The company was founded five years ago by Jowan Osterlund, a former professional body piercer.
The most widespread use of the microtechnology has been to gain access to the SJ Rail. According to the train operator, around 100 people were using microchips to pay for their journey in June of 2017. Over a year later, that number has likely increased.
To use the embedded technology, commuters simply need to hold their hand steady while the train conductor reads the chip with a smartphone. With his/her device, they can confirm that the passenger paid for the journey. The commuter is then invited to board.
Of course, the process hasn’t been an entirely smooth one. And, there are risks involved. Some have argued that microchip IDs actually increase the risk of “body-hackers” gaining access to private data. And, in the past, glitches with the social media platform LinkedIn also occurred.
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When the SJ Rail began accepting microchip ID information, it wouldn’t be unusual for rail staff to be shown a passenger’s Linkedin profile rather than their ticket information. It’s for hiccups like this one that the scheme is presently only available in Sweden.
The use of microchip technology is steadily rising. In Sweden, several companies have started offering the grain-sized implant free of charge. The aim is to help them quickly enter the building or pay for cafeteria food in a quick and hassle-free way.
The trend is nothing if not controversial. Being embedded with a microchip implant means one is always “on the grid,” so to speak. As a result, one is essentially trading freedom(s) for their security. As of now, that trade is voluntary.
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