It’s always troubling to hear someone mention the prospect of implanted ID chips and suggest that it’s only a short distance from tracking devices in a dominated dystopian future the likes of which would make George Orwell’s 1984 look like a low impact Utopia. But not everyone who hears both sides of the controversy is receptive to the idea that these devices are dangerous to the average consumer. Some people are worried primarily by the bottom line and if it will make society a better or worse place as a whole. But are there still more reasons the average person should be concerned about chipping implants where the word “conspiracy” won’t come up in conversation?
The answer is simple enough, but let’s take a look at the basics first. There are terrifying scenarios suggested for both RFID tags and chip implants involving government and corporate conspiracies, but there are more mainstream reasons both are dangerous to the average consumer as well.
Consider the following scenario. John is walking down the street with his credit card in his wallet. He’s set up security countermeasures with his credit card company that allow him to cancel his card at any time in the event of identity theft. And it’s a good reason too, as he is robbed on the way home by a desperate criminal. John hands over his wallet and loses approximately forty dollars, his credit card, a membership card to his local food cooperative, and some photographs of his newborn niece that were in the wallet. He rushes home, and after calling the police he calls his credit card company and cancels the card. While the incident is definitely shocking, it is not as terrifying as the next scenario. If John lived in a world where implants were the same as credit cards, the robber may not have asked for his wallet, but rather extorted him into going to a nearby ATM to withdraw money. And if the robber was particularly cruel, he could decide the implant would serve him better with John attempting to interfere or escape. There could be a whole new black market of individuals buying and selling stolen chip implants in a sort of “chop shop” operation, then using the identities stolen.
And of course this scenario, while dramatic, is not necessarily the only way things could go. Criminals who are more technologically minded and less violent could find several excuses to scan a person’s hand identification chip, and steal information from it. Once all the information on the chip has been acquired, the person’s identity has been forfeited to the criminal in question. They then can make purchases with the victim’s money, use their own false chip to access information about their victim (such as their place of residence), and in the event of chip activated door locks, the identity thief may even be able to access that person’s home and disable their security system. There are plenty of reasons to be worried about criminals stealing our identities. And as we give up many aspects of security for convenience’s sake, we leave ourselves open to theft.