A while back, a company (Three Square Market) made headlines as they were offering to implant an RFID microchip inside of the hands of their employees.  The idea was to replace things like keys and access cards.  Labour groups around the world went berserk, referencing movies like “1984” in the process.

It appears that these chips have resurfaced, this time to replace the need to carry personal credit cards, keys and other things and it has come from the country that brought us IKEA and ABBA.  While the numbers of people having it done has increased from year to year, it is still only a small fraction of Sweden’s population that has had it done.

Is the world more welcoming to the idea now?

First, let’s address some of the question that people have:

What is involved in the process?
It is a very simple procedure and one that is quite quick.  A video that I found shows it being done in a couple of minutes with little (or no) blood.

What does it do?
It can be loaded with information that could replace all of your payment cards, your forms of ID and even any access cards.

What about security?
It does not have any GPS capability, nor can it transmit information on its own (only when linked to a reader).  In addition, the reader has to be close to the chip (inches away), so it is difficult for it to be cloned.

Personally, I have some mixed feelings about this.

First, what one wants to do with their body is their choice.  I was against companies moving towards this for their employees, but if someone wants to do it to themselves, knock yourself out.  As well, as someone who often runs alone in remote areas, the idea of first responders having access to key information about me is kind of appealing, if I were to have a major issue.

However, I am concerned about a few things ... have we thought through any medical issues, for one.  How does this device hold up inside of the body, does it pose any long-term health issues?  As well, what is to stop a criminal from scanning hands in close quarters like elevators?  I fear that they haven’t thought through all of the security implications fully ...

Finally, most people (as I wrote previously) have not even ventured towards the concept of Mobile Wallet yet, let alone something like this.

Bottom Line
I do see this as being something that will become more standard as time goes on, but I think it may be just a bit too far ahead of its time, as there are still too many questions that need to be answered.

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