Biometric chips — are we ready to be microchipped?

For the first time ever, some companies are now starting to inject biometric chips into their employees. But what are the implications? And are we really ready to be cyborgs?

Biometric chips — are we ready to be microchipped?

As a well-dressed man jumps onto the train to work, he pauses just long enough for the conductor to scan his hand. He holds no ticket, as such. His boarding pass is a tiny chip, sunk beneath this skin.

Sounds like a scene from a science fiction movie, doesn’t it? But this is actually real life, and it’s happening right now in Sweden. Before long, biometric chips may be used far more widely. Such technology has clear benefits in terms of convenience and security. But what are the downsides? And are we really ready to be microchipped?

biometric chips 08

Biometric chips are already in use on the Swedish railways

Sci-fi IRL

The term “biometric” simply relates to the statistical analysis of biological data. For instance, a biometric chip might store information about your fingerprint. It could just as easily hold data on your iris or retina, your voice, and even your DNA.

biometric chips 07

Biometric passports

Thus far, the most common use for biometric chips has been in passports. A growing list of countries throughout the world — including the UK and Germany — use passports and ID cards that utilize biometric verification. Instead of simply relying on a photo, border guards can check your identifying features.

[tweet_box]For the first time ever, some companies are now starting to inject biometric chips into their employees. But what are the implications? And are we really ready to be cyborgs?[/tweet_box]

But these chips are now starting to be inserted into humans. Instead of brandishing your ID card as you arrive at work, you may soon be able to gain entry using your hand.

biometric chips 03

The hand of biohacker, Amal Graafstra

Company biometric chips

In Sweden, many employees are volunteering to be part of this biohacking revolution.

Epicentre, a hub for technology companies in Stockholm, is an early adopter. Anyone who works at one of the 300 startups inside can opt to have a chip inserted into their palm. The chip itself is the same kind of size as a grain of rice, and it replaces a contactless ID card.

biometric chips 05

Get your hand ready…

For the brave few who have volunteered to be chipped, the main advantage is convenience. In the future, such chips could also be loaded with important health data, and be linked to membership reward schemes. Some Swedish gyms already offer biometric gym passes.

biometric chips 06

A biometric implant

For the company, the incentives are even greater. Firstly, embedded ID chips offer much tighter security (although microchips are vulnerable to malware). On a more sinister note, they could conceivably be used to track the movements of employees around the office. In other words, your toilet breaks could be timed.

biometric chips 06

Health implications? (Credit: Biohax)

More worrying still is the scientific evidence that points to an increased risk of cancer for lab animals with embedded chips. Human data is currently very limited, but such concerns are serious.

Pressing concerns

It would be easy to dismiss these pros and cons as considerations for the future. But biometric technology is being rolled out at speed. Just as people are only now realizing the cost of free social media, there is a danger that early adopters of implanted biometrics may later come to regret their action.

biometric chips 04

The future?

Of course, the picture is not only one of dystopian gloom. Biometrics are already being used to keep us safe. In addition, future implants could replace your entire wallet.

In summary, the technology needs to be treated with care. It could be great, or it could end up going all Black Mirror.

What are your views on biometric technology?

The Gadget Flow Daily Digest highlights and explores the latest in tech trends to keep you informed. Want it straight to your inbox? Subscribe ➜

Mark is best known for writing about apps, but he also loves the tactile, hardware side of technology. Being a professional photographer, he's pretty handy with a camera, and he's a self-confessed tweetaholic.
3
Join the Discussion

You Might Also Like

Ultimate gadget guide for home music setups—desks, music stations, amplifiers & more

Ultimate gadget guide for home music setups—desks, music stations, amplifiers & more

So you make music at home. Whether you sing, play guitar, or create electronic beats, the right gear can get your work noticed. For that reason, we’re highlighting gadgets for home music setups. Because who says you have to book..
Take your toolkit up a notch with this gold-plated screwdriver kit

Take your toolkit up a notch with this gold-plated screwdriver kit

Never have the right screw bit for your DIY projects? Maybe your toolbox is just a mess of loose screws, bolts, and bits. Either way, it’s time to get organized with one tool that has it all, the ScrewDriverKing™ portable..
Amazon Fall Event 2022–Kindle Scribe, Halo Rise, Fire TV Cube, and more

Amazon Fall Event 2022–Kindle Scribe, Halo Rise, Fire TV Cube, and more

Live every year, Amazon is back with a pack of hardware products, as usual. Starting with the very first Kindle that you can write on to the new Echo Dot with Clock that has a quantum-dot display, this year’s Amazon..
10 Portable speakers to add to your on-the-go party setup

10 Portable speakers to add to your on-the-go party setup

Hosting a backyard BBQ? Maybe you want to jazz up picnics in the park with your group. Either way, these portable speakers for parties are the answer. Compact and equipped with things like LED light shows and wireless mics, they..
The Series X Gorilla mechanical watch adds power and wisdom to your style

The Series X Gorilla mechanical watch adds power and wisdom to your style

Look cool when you wear the CIGA Design Mechanical Watch Series X Gorilla. This cyberpunk mechanical watch flaunts a hollow design, displaying the spinning gears and springs. You don’t wear a watch to tell the time—your phone can do that...
The best digital displays for showcasing your favorite NFTs and creative art

The best digital displays for showcasing your favorite NFTs and creative art

Own some NFTs and want to display them? Maybe those photos of your desert trek are too good to keep on your phone. Then it would help if you had one (or more) of the best digital displays for showcasing..