By Baxter Dmitry
Sweden is in the grip of a microchipping craze, with Swedes readily parting with their own money to pay for “fashionable” and “convenient” microchips under their skin – without stopping to think of the consequences.
Mainstream media in the US has been waging a propaganda campaign trying to normalize the idea of microchips for humans, airing reports claiming that children will be microchipped “sooner rather than later” and that Americans will accept this because it will make their children “safer.“
But while Americans remain wary about the idea of microchips for humans, the campaign to normalize microchips has been so successful in Sweden that people with RFID microchips permanently embedded in their bodies now consider the technology as “another organ of the body” and boast that they can use them to “pay for train tickets” and “receive discounts“.
The only catch is that these slaves of fashion don’t know exactly what has been put into their body. They also can’t be sure who has access to their personal data. If history repeats, human microchips will go from being technology adopted for its “convenience and safety” and then overnight will become mandatory for you and your family – or else.
A state-owned Swedish train company, SJ, is now offering passengers the option of using RFID chips implanted into their hand instead of a paper or e-ticket, enabling ticket inspectors to scan passengers’ hands. An SJ spokesperson said he expects thousands of people to “take advantage” of the “convenient method“.
“It’s just a matter of days before everyone has it,” he said.
Asked why SJ Trains decided to offer passengers the option of using microchips, he said “Simply because we can. And because our corporate customers demanded it.”
Cyber security nightmare
Explaining that it is “slightly quicker to scan a microchip than a travel card” and thus “saves train crew a bit of time“, the spokesman also admitted to early privacy problems with the new scheme.
“Of course there’s mixed reactions,” says SJ’s spokesperson. “Some people are concerned with the privacy issue and that’s something we take really seriously. We came up with using the membership number which doesn’t tell anyone anything – a third party couldn’t make anything of it even if they got hold of it.
“Some people are confused and think they can be tracked via microchip – but it that’s something they’re worried about, they should be more concerned by their mobile phone and credit card use. You can already be tracked in many different ways other than a microchip.”
Mark of the beast
SJ isn’t the only company in Sweden taking advantage of the RFID microchip trend. Another company, Epicenter, encourages employees to have a microchip implanted in order to access their office or place of work, while a chain of Swedish gyms lets clients use their microchip as an ID card to gain entry to the gym floor.
Microchipped Swedes claim further uses might include children tapping to let parents know they are at school safely, refugees checking in at camps or women at shelters. The microchips can share diet, exercise and sleep information with you and your doctor, and the next generation could even release medicine as and when you need it.
Ben Libberton, a microbiologist from the Swedish think tank and research organization, the Karolinska Institute, said the data that could be accessed from the embedded chip was very different from the data found on a person’s smartphone.
“You could get data about your health, you could [get] data about your whereabouts, how often you’re working, how long you’re working, if you’re taking toilet breaks, and things like that,” he said.
“All of that data could conceivably be collected.”
“So then the questions is: What happens to it afterwards? What is it used for? Who is going to be using it? Who is going to be seeing it?“