Thousands of People in Sweden Get Microchip Implants, Replace Cash, Credit Cards
Over 4,000 people have now had the implant in Sweden
Thousands of people in Sweden are receiving microchips implants in their skin in order to replace credit cards and cash, according to reports.
Over 4,000 people have now had the implant, which is about the size of a grain of rice, inserted into their hands.
The pioneers of the chips predict that millions will soon join as they vow to take it global.
“It’s very ‘Black Mirror,’” Swedish scientist Ben Libberton told The New York Post.
Similar to smartwatches, the chips will reportedly help Swedes monitor their health, manage bank accounts, credit cards, and even replace keycards to help them enter offices and homes.
The move is said to be a big step in eliminating cash.
The microchips were pioneered by former body piercer Jowan Österlun, who refers to the technology as a “moonshot” — and who told Fortune magazine that he'd been hit up by hopeful investors “on every continent except Antarctica.”
“Tech will move into the body,” the Biohax International founder told the mag.
"am sure of that.”
NY Post reports: Österlund insists the technology is safe — but that has not stopped alarm bells from ringing, with some fearing a link to a doubling in cybercrime in the country over the last decade.
Libberton, a British scientist, based in Sweden, praised the “definitely exciting” potential health benefits of accurate health metrics taken from inside the body.
“Think if the Apple Watch could measure things like blood glucose,” he told The Post.
But he also fears the mass of highly personalized data and how it could be used.
“The problem is, who owns this data?” he asked.
“Do I get a letter from my insurance company saying premiums are going up before I know I’m ill? If I use the chip to buy lunch, go to the gym and go to work, will someone have all of this info about me? Is this stored, and is it safe?”
Libberton added, “It’s not just about the chip, but integration with other systems and data sharing.”
And he fears Swedes are not giving enough thought to the potential dangers.
“People have shown they’re happy to give up privacy for convenience,” he said.
"The chip is very convenient, so could we accept our data being shared very widely before we know the risks?”
The trend coincides with Sweden’s march toward going cashless, with notes and coins making up just 1 percent of Sweden’s economy.
At the same time, the country has seen a dramatic decrease in some crimes — with just two bank robberies last year compared to 110 in 2008.