Big Brother’s nefarious and clandestine plans to enslave the human race been the stuff of alarmist journalists for decades, but new reports from Sweden are fueling serious speculation.
For years, the surveillance state was symbolized by the ubiquitous security camera, applied to the side of a grey, dismal building in a major U.S. metropolis, sending data in the form of your every move back to some poorly lit room where you’d appear somewhere in a maze of monitors. Just who was watching, and what they were watching for, were always highly mysterious, but we knew one thing: The entire scenario was not harmonious with the global ideal of personal liberty.
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Now, in Sweden, we are seeing an extremely disturbing trend in the Big Brother saga, in which humans are willingly being injected with programmable microchips simply for their day jobs.
“The syringe slides in between the thumb and index finger. Then, with a click, a microchip is injected in the employee’s hand. Another “cyborg” is created.
“What could pass for a dystopian vision of the workplace is almost routine at the Swedish startup hub Epicenter. The company offers to implant its workers and startup members with microchips the size of grains of rice that function as swipe cards: to open doors, operate printers, or buy smoothies with a wave of the hand.
“The injections have become so popular that workers at Epicenter hold parties for those willing to get implanted.
“‘The biggest benefit I think is convenience,’ said Patrick Mesterton, co-founder and CEO of Epicenter. As a demonstration, he unlocks a door by merely waving near it. ‘It basically replaces a lot of things you have, other communication devices, whether it be credit cards or keys.'”
There are enormous concerns about such technology becoming mainstream, and the fact that these implants are being celebrated is a disturbing change of societal norms for a world that is constantly under threat of cyber attack from any number of sources.
Not only could companies such as Epicenter be completely crippled by some form of cyber warfare due to these injected skeleton keys, but the data transfer from these implants into the mainframe are concerning for the personal privacy of these clueless employees. Much like the advent of RFID credit cards, and the subsequent introduction of terrifyingly powerful card reading tools utilized by identity thieves, the implementation of these sort of tracking tools is a hastily considered move, and it enhances a wide variety of risks for these workers.
More worrisome still is the nonchalant way in which CEO Mesterton regards the implants:
“‘Of course, putting things into your body is quite a big step to do and it was even for me at first,’ said Mesterton, remembering how he initially had had doubts.“‘But then on the other hand, I mean, people have been implanting things into their body, like pacemakers and stuff to control your heart,’ he said. ‘That’s a way, way more serious thing than having a small chip that can actually communicate with devices.'”