We have in the past told of our friend, Amal Graafstra, who has an RFID chip implanted in his hand. Now a British scientist has done Amal one ‘better’ – Dr. Mark Gasson has given the RFID chip that he has implanted in his hand a virus, and he has passed the virus from his flesh-embedded RFID chip to external systems.
Dr. Gasson, a scientist at the University of Reading, did this to prove a point: that it is possible for embedded chips to be carriers of computer viruses which could then be passed to other embedded RFID chips through an external vector.
If you think this is the sort of thing which only happens in science fiction, think again. As Gasson points out, “This type of technology has been commercialised in the United States as a type of medical alert bracelet, so that if you’re found unconscious you can be scanned and your medical history brought up.”
Adds Gasson, “With the benefits of this type of technology come risks. We may improve ourselves in some way but much like the improvements with other technologies, mobile phones for example, they become vulnerable to risks, such as security problems and computer viruses.”
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Other experts agree.
“If someone can get online access to your implant, it could be serious,” says Professor Rafael Capurro, who has studied the ethics and potential abuse of such implants.
Capurro, who is with Germany’s Steinbeis-Transfer-Institute of Information Ethics, observes that “From an ethical point of view, the surveillance of implants can be both positive and negative. Surveillance can be part of medical care, but if someone wants to do harm to you, it could be a problem.”
Of course, pets and other animals have been being microchipped for years, but typically those chips carry only a serial number corresponding to a file which remains with a pet locator service.
Once the information is expanded, the hosts are human, and/or the chips themselves become a vector for malware, the whole concept takes on a much more interesting overtone.
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Whether such a situation is actually likely to come to pass in the wild, or is just alarmist doom-saying, is open to debate. But at least now, with Dr. Gasson’s results…ahem…in hand, we know that there is a debate to be had.
No Paywall Here!
The Internet Patrol is and always has been free. We don't hide our articles behind a paywall, or restrict the number of articles you can read in a month if you don't give us money. That said, it does cost us money to run the site, so if something you read here was helpful or useful, won't you consider donating something to help keep the Internet Patrol free? Thank you!
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