Microchips in Humans: Consumer-Friendly App, or New Frontier in Surveillance?

Like any technology, there is always a dark side — especially with a newer technology that is so invasive that it literally gets under our skin.

n 2021, a British/Polish firm known as Walletmor announced that it had become the first company to sell implantable payment microchips to everyday consumers. While the first microchip was implanted into a human way back in 1998, says the BBC News—so long ago it might as well be the Dark Ages in the world of computing—it is only recently that the technology has become commercially available (Latham 2022). People are voluntarily having these chips—technically known as “radio frequency identification chips” (RFIDs)—injected under their skin, because these microscopic chips of silicon allow them to pay for purchases at a brick and mortar store just by hovering their hand over a scanner at a checkout counter, entirely skipping the use of any kind of a credit card, debit card, or cell phone app. (See Figure 1 at top of page.)

While many people may initially recoil from the idea of having a microchip inserted into their body, a 2021 survey of more than 4,000 people in Europe found that more than 51 percent of respondents said that they would consider this latest form of contactless payment for everything from buying a subway Metro card to using it in place of the key fob to unlock a car door. (Marqeta/Consult Hyperion 2021).

Read More at The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

Read the rest at The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists