I hope you’re ready for your mandatory chip injection. RFID is everywhere these days and soon that could include inside of you. The awful truth is that mandatory or not; it’s possible that the government and big businesses can make us get chipped. When not having one is so tricky that you have to consent voluntarily, you too will be chipped. In an RFID world, if you want access to food, cars, and even public buildings, a chip could be required.
Will we be forced to have an RFID microchip? It’s probable but not guaranteed that chipping will become a regular part of our lives. In 2006 VeriChip chairman Scott Silverman stated that the company had already begun talks with the government about mandatory chips for guest workers and migrants. Katherine Albrecht and Liz McIntyre, privacy advocates, responded with a warning about how easy it would be to expand that to the citizens.
That was more than a decade ago. Fortunately, we haven’t seen a move to mass-chip either workers or resident citizens in this country yet. The frightening part is that, among others, the USA and the European Parlament are considering chipping people involuntarily. It seems like this microchipping debate isn’t so much an issue of ‘if’ but rather a question of when.
Can a Government Institute Mandatory People Chipping
It may seem alarmist, but it’s not that hard to envision a world where RFID chips are mandatory and enforced. Getting them into bodies isn’t even that difficult. There are many scenarios where they could be required. For example, the DMV or Social Security Administration could replace cards with chips. It’s possible in that scenario you would not be able to do things like drive, get married, or buy alcohol without your chip. Furthermore, even if the chips are only selectively enforced, a whole lot of people will still have RFID chips very quickly.
We all know there’s no possible way that mandatory government procedures could be used against us, right? After all, governments have always dealt straight with people in the past. Well, except for governments run by people like Polpot, Mao, Kim Jung Il, Castro, Saddam Hussein, and Hitler, to name just a few.
We can surely count on the ‘good guys,’ to keep us safe though. Or can we? Even great leaders like Winston Churchill haven’t always done right by the people. After all, the great man himself not only allowed but suggested further starving three million Indian people in an English colony. England could have provided aid for India. Instead of refusing aid to the Greeks, for whom England was not responsible, Churchill suggested that refusing help to underfed Bengalis was ‘less serious.’.
Chipping The Military
About 7.3 percent of all Americans have served in the military. If we round that up and call it eight percent, to be sure we include all the people who signed up but never passed boot camp. A whole lot of people have had mandatory physicals and vaccinations. If the US armed forces instituted a mandatory chipping policy for all those soldiers, veterans who have benefits and their families, a sizeable chunk of the population would end up chipped very quickly.
Assuming there are only about half as many spouses and dependents as there are service people and vets. That still adds another four percent of the population to the chip-roster. A total of twelve percent of the country will have RFID implants if the military policy ever changes.
Law Enforcement & Prisoners
If we follow the same concept with people, who have been in prison, another 5.1% of the population would be chipped. We couldn’t find stats on how many people spend a weekend in the drunk tank. Still, it’s safe to assume we can add at least another one percent for local lockups. Law enforcement officers only make up about a quarter of a percent of the population. Chipping them wouldn’t raise the total by too much. Doing so in the name of ‘officer safety’ sounds reasonable enough on casual inspection.
Government employees get nice benefits and holidays off. Their jobs aren’t necessarily cushy, but there are some obvious upsides to government work. Out of the hundreds of millions of Americans, only about one and a half percent of the population works for the government.
If we round up to include all those law enforcement officials, we can call that roughly two percent of people rely on government jobs to make ends meet. Most of those people wouldn’t quit their jobs just because of a policy change they didn’t like. All told, that’s nearly twenty percent of the populace between prisoners, military service members, and their families plus government employees.
If a government in any first world country like the USA wanted to chip people. Doing this at birth is a fast and efficient way to make sure almost everyone has their chip. Hospitals and pediatricians could require chips for newborns and young children the same way Texas demands blood samples from them right now. The reason they give for the mandatory blood sample is genetic testing. Furthermore, parents theoretically have the choice to opt-out of having the samples on file once the tests are over. Nevertheless, it’s not hard to require chips for new infants if it’s ‘hospital policy,’ or required by local laws.
Not Just Theory
The European Parlament talked about chipping officially one time. Sweden is chipping people, though not involuntarily. Swedes are early adopters of the technology, and thousands have rushed to get their RFID implant already. What about here in the US? Is ‘Big Brother’ really looking into chipping people? Let’s see what the University of Pennsylvania Department of Bioengineering, thinks.
“A national discussion is needed to identify the limits of acceptable use of implantable RFID tags in humans before their use becomes widespread and it becomes too late to prevent misuse of this useful but ethically problematic technology.”
Perhaps it’s reading too much into the situation, but it seems like this article from PubMed.Gov is saying that the chips will almost certainly be used. They merely think we should talk about it before it gets too far along. At least someone is pointing out that there are ethical problems with quietly chipping everyone thoughtlessly.
Is the RFID Chip Safe
We cannot bubble wrap the whole world. That said, it’s essential to understand what effect something will have on people before we go shooting them up with it. Are there any health problems that result from chipping? As it turns out, no one is really sure because the studies have been severely limited.
Some people are utterly excited about the idea of waving their hand and paying for things or opening doors. While a chip could keep your home secure and your car from being stolen, the tech isn’t perfect. Predictably, not everyone wants smarter tech in their lives. Whether it’s a fear of change, paranoia or well-reasoned hesitation, mandatory chipping can have a psychological effect on people.
First, taking away people’s free will has historically gone wrong in many ways. Slaves revolt, women rise up and demand equality, and basically any group who are told to quiet down and take it eventually refuses. Secondly, fear of becoming a culture like that of the novels 1984 or Fahrenheit 451 isn’t totally unfounded. Being monitored from birth is alarming at best, even when done with the purest intentions.
No one can deny that having your full medical history available to doctors instantly is a vast improvement over the slow paper process we have in place now. Unfortunately, that’s not all a chip can do. Certainly eliminating medical paperwork errors would help many people, but what about the potential risks.
RFID Chips, like any other foreign substance in the body, can migrate over time. The possibility of having a chip relocate itself and cause a health problem is not unfounded. Objects more substantial than the grain-of-rice RFID chips can move around the body. In fact, bullet migration is well documented.
More alarming still is what happens if a body rejects the RFID implant or the tissues get infected. There are some potentially serious risks in injecting people with foreign substances. Worst of all, the RFID chips might have a problem with magnetics, like MRI machines. Not being able to have a brain scan if you’ve been in an accident is a pretty severe downside.
Pros & Cons
Like guns and computers, technology on its own isn’t good or evil. While it’s easy to go off the deep end with worry, we also want to pay attention to the real problems with RFID chips. For example, RFID has caused cancer in lab rats. Alternately the tech is potentially effective at treating cancer in humans. That’s a pretty good reason to get a chip. Are there other benefits beyond medical records and killing cancer? Of course, there are.
Companies, like Smith & Wesson, for example, could easily implant RFID into their products. Theft is much harder when a gun has a trackable chip. S&W was on board back in the ’90s. Sadly gun owners revolted and prevented safer gun-tracking at the time. RFID can allow lost and stolen guns to be easily located and returned. Keeping those weapons out of the hands of dangerous criminals is a great reason to chip something. However, a thing is not a person. Stock management, key cards, and even finding lost pets are all great, but what about people?
Implanting RFID in children and at-risk elders, like those with dementia, would allow us to keep track of their whereabouts better. Reducing kidnapping and the dangers of wandering elderly relatives is a plus.
Though it’s not ideal for the employees, it makes sense that employers might want to be able to track where their staff is. Employers will know when someone is stuck in traffic and when they’re at a coffee shop for an hour because they feel like coming in late.
Obviously, businesses benefit from stock control. Likewise, retailers can benefit from reduced losses by using RFID chips in garments and other high theft risk items. Instead of locking up all the items like condoms and alcohol that people can’t get for themselves now, shops could leave them out. Faster processing from grocery lines to airports is a boon that RFID can give.
The sheer volume of ways to abuse this technology could fill a large book. Muggers could have people wave their hands and empty their accounts. Plus, building a scanner is cheap and easy. Just looking at tangible ways to hack the system for criminal activity is enough to make you think twice.
The biggest downside to mandatory chipping is that you’re probably already chipped and you don’t realize it. If you don’t carry a chip, you will soon. I’m not suggesting that you have a chip in your body (yet). Your bank cards, workplace badges, and even things you purchase have RFID in them already.
From Budweiser’s Buddy Cups to marathon racer’s ID tags, you probably missed your chance to avoid RFID. Unfortunately, more products are getting tagged every day. Children’s school IDs and shops clothing tags help keep track of what and who is passing through the doors in more locations than ever before.
We’re already being chipped systematically. While the injected body-chips haven’t become mainstream just yet RFID is undoubtedly here to stay. The only real way to avoid it is to go entirely off the grid, which some people have always done. However, that’s a goal many of us are still struggling to reach. Simply put, most people don’t want to grab their BOBs and head for the hills. We expect bug-out plans to exist for more obvious physical dangers.
How far will RFID go? Will we be subject to mass roundups and chipping? As for the former, I can’t say, but the latter is far too obvious and objectionable. It’s more likely that the process will be insidious and take a couple of generations to implement fully.
As chips become more common and chip-scars more mainstream, it will likely lead to everyone having chips. Perhaps not in this generation, but soon enough.