Go Get Chipped - Part 2

Go “Get Chipped” A Brief Overview of Non-Medical Implants between 2013-2017 (Part 2)

The original "Get Chipped" campaign by the Verichip company.

The original "Get Chipped" campaign by the Verichip company.

In Part 1 of “Go Get Chipped” we covered the inception of microchip implants for non-medical applications from 1997 to 2012 [1]. This period demonstrated the breadth of applications that implantables could be used for [2]. This was a time of intense novelty, early hype, a bit of magic for magic’s sake, and proposing a future that very few genuinely wished to engage with, save for severe sufferers of Parkinson’s disease, Tourette Syndrome, major depressive disorder (MDD), amputation, or quadriplegia [3]. Until then, few academics, some keen biohackers, and radical start-ups had taken the idea of “microchipping people for non-medical applications”(not just dogs and cats) seriously, but things were about to drastically change when some big brands got behind the broader concept of a paperless and cashless society.

Well known to most of us in the auto-ID industry were two IBM commercials produced in the mid-2000s that showed off radiofrequency identification (RFID) for “grab and go” shopping at a smart supermarket [4], and increased visibility in the supply chain [5]. In fact, the “cutesy” nature of these commercials were a step away from the original “shock and awe” of the Applied Digital Solutions VeriChip “Get Chipped” campaigns that were a response to national security (i.e., 9/11) and America’s healthcare crisis [6]. IBM instead evoked a “look how cool and fun this new tech can be — join us” kind of sentiment with their very slick and somewhat mischievous marketing approach.

In 2007, MG Michael delivered an invited talk at Terra Incognita in Montreal, Canada [7], where he showed these IBM clips as part of his uberveillance delivery, and the response was quite unexpected. At the conclusion of the meeting, this presentation was highlighted in the presence of the delegates as one of the responses contra the top heavy surveillance keynote that had been delivered earlier in the week by the second United States Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff [8]. Some years prior, MG had delivered a paper at the British Computer Society [9] where Ken Wood of Microsoft Research in Cambridge [10] and the current CTO of CISCO Monique Morrow were present [11]. It did not take long on that occasion, for the discussion on microchipping of humans to zero in on the potential for an “onoff” switch for implantables located somewhere in the human body, perhaps on the forearm. Soon after, we had chance meetings, first at an airport in India with a Nokia chief who beckoned MG to become a tech evangelist for them. There was another in 2010 in our little hometown with a longstanding InQTel employee who stated that what we were working on was the future [12]. Business cards exchanged, what were the odds we thought of all of these “touchpoints.” I too, spoke to an employee from Ericsson over breakfast about implantables at IEEE ISTAS’15 in Dublin and again, as karma struck once more, he was the very same man who wrote the article I was pointing to in our discussion [13]. So what to make of all these primary, face-to-face links, save to say that our research trajectory had been on target and this was an area of research now preoccupying the time of big business? Informal validations from very formal players — and these persons weren’t just your “think outside the box” hackers, they were executives of large multinationals who still hold major influence today.

Industry Deregulation

Initially, I had studied the historical emphasis on back-end interoperability for fundamental financial transactions in Europay, MasterCard and VISA, or what was known as the EMV alliance [14]. But dramatic things were to follow beyond “standards” and “specifications” — a wave of fullblown deregulation of the telecommunications and banking sectors across the globe then occurred bit by bit. It had become evident that traditional providers were being pre - ssured by non-traditional players [15]. Credit card companies now had competitors who were information and communication technology (ICT) giants. It did not take long after the MONDEX card and other failed smart card initiatives for the mobile telephony revolution to gather steam and come head to head with companies like VISA. I recall the attempt in Australia to launch the “mini” VISA that one could wear as a necklace or bracelet which was literally the size of a semiconductor chip. But the horse had bolted, and soon Apple and Samsung were offering their own payment gateways [16], circumventing the need for banks or credit card companies to play any part in customer transactions. On the occasions I’ve spoken on financial payments or financial crime in Australia, again the em - phasis has been on what the future of e-payments might look like [17]. Almost always, the focus has been on how to capture the consumer’s loyalty. In some of my talks here, I have described the steady technological trajectory from luggables to wearables to implantables. Of course, big players are well aware of the trends and have sometimes denied the possibilities on the one hand [18], only to subsequently engage in the very same research they have said to sideline [19]. Scenarios are crucial for these companies. I don’t fault them for thinking about what might come next [20]. We should all be thinking with such foresight. But all of this leads to what Foster and Jaegar called “murky ethics” in one IEEE Spectrum paper I reviewed in 2007 [21]. On the one hand, big corporations saying “we’d never do it,” and on the other hand, “it’s inevitable.” This reminds me of the forthcoming volume by transhumanist commentator Lazar Puhalo on the Ethics of the Inevitable [22].

Getting Real

Yet, I am often surprised by the fact that so many people that should be in the know about the latest technologies consider most of this implant talk within the realm of “mark of the beast” or “conspiracy theory” talk. MG Michael presented a paper on anti-chipping laws in the U.S. [23] in 2009, and was bewildered by the lack of awareness of the conference audience when they are foremost ahead in social implications of technology generalist discussions. The same thing happened to me at IEEE Sections Congress 2017, when I delivered my talk more recently. Many people were stunned at the use cases I was showing. Yet, increasingly, now, due to the reach of content platforms like YouTube, awareness of what is possible is growing, as is validation of what people are claiming is happening or indeed, wanting to normalize. For those of us keeping abreast of the latest developments day in day out, we also seem somewhat desensitized as a result of having watched endless piercings, “live” in action, streamed over the Internet. The format goes a little bit like this:

1) some nervous jokes to begin with,

2) surgical gloves come out in full view,

3) a discussion ensues about the importance of sterilization to keep infection at bay,

4) a sharp needle,

5) a tiny transponder,

6) breaking the skin,

7) a bit of blood,

8) some ad lib from the body piercer who is wearing tattoos and ear implants,

9) a hefty grin by the implantee who comments in passing “it doesn’t hurt,”

10) and then a band-aid and “that’s it” [24].

But that’s not it, and transformation takes more than just sporting an implant, although the outward bodily transfigurations cannot help but to have an inward-facing metaphysical and existential impact on the human person.

Caption: Initial implants were conducted by general practitioners (i.e. medical doctors) early in the 2000s. Over the last decade, we've replaced the white gown and clinical hospital-style backdrop with black gloves, tattoos and piercing professionals conducting the implant procedure, DIY style, with audiences looking on- a real public spectacle.

Recent Non-Medical Implantable Use Cases

32Market Campaign for chipping employees and linking implantable chips to vending machines for epayment

32Market Campaign for chipping employees and linking implantable chips to vending machines for epayment

An overview, not exhaustive, of some of the more significant implant usecases in the last few years, includes: GoogleX’s swallowable chip [25], dangerousthings.com (myUKI re - branded as Vivokey) [26], [27], Tim Cannon [28] and Wetware Groundhouse [29] NorthStar and Circadia, the Swedish chipping parties [30], biohacker Hannes Sjoblad [31] and co-founder and CEO of Epicenter Patrick Mesterton [32], Charlie Warzel of BuzzFeed and his epayment chip [59], the launch of DeusEx (USA and Australia) [33], chipmylife. com [34], Andreas Sjostrom (implant boarding pass) [35], Biohax International (Swedish body piercers) [36], SJRAil Priority customers (Sweden) [37], Biofoundry’s Founder Meow Meow and his Opal Card implant [38], 32Market (Wisconsin, USA) [39], [40], etc.

Among the implantees seem to be a growing list of journalists who are getting implanted for the millisecond shock factor of their online audiences. This trend will soon subside, the spectacle of something going into the body “for the first time” completely replaced by the potential flood of active nonmedical use cases. Journalists will also soon figure out that their body capacities are limited, and any future implantable will likely be taking up important “real estate” space. To the non-techy onlooker, this might seem like some form of human digital revolution (aka augmented humans), or some very extreme form of self-harm [41]. But then what of claims, from large companies like Medtronics who foresee a sensor implanted in everyone [42]? This is the normalization of the weird into the wonderful into the “cannot live without.” Companies like Cochlear in 2017 have described the potential to fuse their hearing implantable device with a service that delivers entertainment like music straight to the ear [43]. Why not? This is the blurring of the prosthetic with the amplified, the medical with the entertainment as I had once noted in a TEDXUWollongong scenario [44].

Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics or Is It?

It is very difficult to predict what the future has in store for us. Table 1 shows some of the key surveys to have been conducted over the last 14 years. Perhaps most confusing is the disparity of the findings between the studies, though they have all measured different things, and have sourced respondents in various markets with varying levels of technology awareness. As readers we need to be aware of the message being sold to us by companies with vested interests, and a variety of emerging stakeholders. Survey bias is ever present and as consumers we need to always ask the fundamental questions before we make our own minds up about the latest technology rewards. This is our future. We will make of it what we will. But the strategic techno-spin boiler engine rooms will just continue to grow in sophistication making it harder for consumers to believe in something other than what they are projecting. It’s time to vote with our wallets, not just our voices [60]. Perhaps the bigger issues at hand, as I am constantly reminded by my biohacker friends, is not whether or not some government will forcibly implant us all for social security purposes and surveillance, but what is presently happening with the mass scale big data collection strategies using social media intelligence, CCTV, behavioral biometrics using facial recognition and visual analytics to monitor human activities, the keystroke-level tracking of end-users by third parties on Internet websites, the use of in-bound technology devices that conduct ICT surveillance and home monitoring, and even fitness trackers we carry alongside our mobile phone that are set to control our health insurance premiums. I will always riposte, wait till all of these are applied together as in the full-blown Uberveillance scenario [45], [46]. We predict the integration of invasive token and non-token based payment schemes for two-factor authentication (e.g., Alibaba’s use of facial recognition payment systems in KFCs in China [47]). Already one trial that Baidu led at the beginning of this year used facial recognition technology to predict customer orders [48]. Now that’s one way to speed up transactions at the point of sale, and potentially ensure calorie controlled intake as well!

What Kind of World Do You Want to Live In?

As my last editorial as Editor-in-Chief of IEEE Technology and Society Magazine, I leave you with these final thoughts. What kind of world do you want to live in? I hope together we have continued to trail-blaze this question as a community of conscientious voices in my six years as EIC. Please never underestimate the significance of all your contributions. These don’t stem solely from scholarly works, but most likely might be in everyday discussions over a coffee to unexpectedly raise awareness about social implications of technology, or helping others harness the power of technology when there is real benefit. Personally, I have been inspired by these everyday conversations with people: with neighbors, with mums and dads, with the elderly in aged care, with young kids, with nurses, with teachers, and with those suffering from some of the negative backburn of the new technologies. Social implications of technology is not an “exclusive” topic that belongs to scientists, or academic researchers, or inventors alone, but to all of us who can observe the impacts in our own homes, our workplaces, dwellings we frequent like clubs, and even governments.

A long list of thank yous, I will need to cut short given space. Thank you to the authors who took time to research on pertinent topics of SSIT. Thank you to reviewers who freely gave of their time to offer their insights and ensure a top class benchmark was retained. To my outstanding Associate Editors and columnists who were there as a sounding board and who offered their own expert opinions, so often. To Terri Bookman who I know firsthand works round the clock to bring you the publication you see today — you have been sensational and the reason we have won so many awards. To my predecessors, Keith W. Miller and Joe Herkert, for always being there when I needed advice and practical help. And to the Vice Presidents/Presidents and Board of Governors of IEEE SSIT for all their ongoing support and direction, which I’ve always tried to incorporate. What an unforgettable experience for me! I will forever cherish the opportunity and pinch myself that it all happened. I was interviewed for the role just after my youngest child was born … I must confess it’s not always been easy, but oh so worth it! Thank you to my selfless husband whose discernment I would call upon and to my three young kids who were forever patient. I leave you in safe hands. To the forthcoming editor, Professor Jeremy Pitt of Imperial College London of whom I have the utmost respect. The trailblazing will continue on topics not previously covered, I am sure. And if his previous special issues and sections in IEEE Technology and Society are anything to go by — get ready for some spectacular work with an extensive new trusted network for SSIT to embrace. References

References

[1] K. Michael, “Go “get chipped” — A brief overview of non-medical implants between 1997-2013 (Part 1),” IEEE Technology and Society Mag., vol. 36, no. 3, Sept. 2017.

[2] A. Masters and K. Michael, “Lend me your arms: The use and implications of humancentric RFID,” Electronic Commerce Research and Applications, vol. 6, no. 1, pp. 29-39, 2007.

[3] K. Michael, “Mental health, implantables, and side effects,” IEEE Technology and Society Mag., pp. 5-7, Jun. 17, 2015.

[4] IBM, “The future market: Business innovations,” 2007; https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=eob532iEpqk, accessed Aug. 29, 2017.

[5] IBM, “Inventory off track: IBM can help,” 2007; https://www.youtube.com/watch? v=oAvQcYcvyaw, accessed Aug. 29, 2017.

[6] Applied Digital Solutions, “The VeriChip: HealthLink information,” 2006; https:// www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ms-XLxIi7Xo, accessed Aug. 29, 2017.

[7] M.G. Michael and K. Michael, “Uberveillance” in Proc. 29th Int. Conf. Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners. Privacy Horizons: Terra Incognita, Location Based Tracking Workshop (Montreal, Canada), 2007;http://works.bepress.com/ kmichael/146/, accessed Aug. 29, 2017.

[8] M. Geist, “The Future of Privacy: Privacy Threats No Longer “Terra Incognita,” Oct. 2, 2007; http://www.michaelgeist .ca/2007/10/terra-incognita-column-post/, accessed Aug. 29, 2017.

[9] L. Perusco, K. Michael, MG Michael, “Location-based services and the privacy-security dichotomy,” in Proc. 3rd Int. Conf. Mobile Computing and Ubiquitous Networking (London, British Computer Society), Oct. 11-13, 2006, pp. 91-98.

[10] K. Wood, “Ubiquitous computing at Microsoft Research in UK,” Channel 9, Sept. 29, 2004; https://channel9.msdn .com/Blogs/TheChannel9Team/Ken-WoodUbiquitous-computing-at-Microsoft-Researchin-UK, accessed Aug. 29, 2017.

[11] S. Chan, “Monique Morrow aims to give others identity — and her identity is built on helping others,” CISCO: The Network, Sept. 7, 2016; https://newsroom.cisco.com/ feature-content?type=webcontent&article Id=1785844, accessed Aug. 29, 2017.

[12] IQT, “National security: Identify, adapt, deliver,” In-Q-Tel, 2017; https://www.iqt .org/sectors/national-security/, accessed Aug. 29, 2017.

[13] S. Kupriyanov, “Four reasons chip implants aren’t mainstream,” The Networked Society, Jul. 29, 2015; https:// www.ericsson.com/thinkingahead/ the-networked-society-blog/2015/07/29/ four-reasons-chip-implants-arent-mainstream/, accessed Aug. 29, 2017.

[14] K. Michael, The Automatic Identification Industry Trajectory, Ph.D. thesis, School of Information Technology and Computer Science, University of Wollongong, 2003, ch. 6.4.5.1.

[15] C.A. Allen and W.J. Barr, Eds., Smart Cards: Seizing Strategic Business Opportunities. McGraw-Hill, New York. 1997.

[16] S. Lohr, “As more pay by Smartphone, banks scramble to keep up,” NYTimes, Jan. 18, 2016; https://www.nytimes.com/ 2016/01/19/ technology/upstarts-are-leading-the-fintechmovement-and-banks-take-heed.html.

[17] K. Michael, “A brave new world of ‘under the skin’ payments,” presented at Technology & Innovation — The Future of Payments (Sydney, Australia), Sept. 19, 2014; http://fst.net.au/conferences/technology-innovation-future-payments.

[18] G. Storey, “Bringing the ease of contactless payments to the virtual marketplace,” presented at Technology & Innovation — the Future of Payments (Sydney, Australia), Sept. 19, 2014; http://fst.net.au/ conferences/technology-innovation-futurepayments.

[19] H. Francis, “Chip implants beneath the skin bring a new meaning to ‘pay wave’,” Sydney Morning Herald, http://www .smh.com.au/digital-life/digital-life-news/ chip-implants-beneath-the-skin-bring-a-newmeaning-to-pay-wave-20150528-ghbq71. html, accessed Aug. 29, 2017.

[20] K. Michael, G. Roussos, G.Q. Huang, R. Gadh et al., “Planetary-scale RFID services in an age of uberveillance,” Proc. IEEE, vol. 98, no. 9, pp. 1663-1671, 2010.

[21] K.R. Foster and J. Jaeger, “RFID inside: The murky ethics of implanted chips,” IEEE Spectrum, pp. 24-29, Mar. 2007; http://pages.cs.wisc.edu/~markhill/cs252/ Fall2013/handouts/spectrum07_rfid_ethics .pdf, accessed Aug. 29, 2017.

[22] K. Michael, “A conversation with Lazar Puhalo,” IEEE Technology and Society Mag., vol. 34, mo. 3, pp. 25-28, Dec. 17, 2014; http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/ document/7270450/, accessed Aug. 29, 2017.

[23] A. Friggieri, K. Michael and M.G. Michael, “The legal ramifications of microchipping people in the United States of America- A state legislative comparison,” in Proc. IEEE Int. Symposium on Technology and Society (Tempe: AZ, U.S.A.), May 18-20, 2009, pp. 1-8.

[24] M. Aslander, “At the Singularity Summit in Amsterdam, Peter Diamandis gets an NFC implant,” Singularity Summit, Nov. 20, 2014; https://vimeo.com/112366539, accessed Aug. 29, 2017.

[25] K. Lachance Shandrow, “Swallow This ‘Password’ pill to unlock your digital devices,” Entrepreneur, Feb. 3, 2014; https://www .entrepreneur.com/article/231182, accessed Sept. 4, 2017.

[26] VICE Staff, “VICE Motherboard covers Project UKI (now Vivokey),” Motherboard, Oct. 17, 2016; https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=GSv0hb0GeBQ, accessed Sept. 4, 2017.

[27] K. Michael, “RFID/NFC implants for bitcoin transactions,” IEEE Consumer Electronics Mag., vol. 5, no. 3, pp. 103-106, 2016.

[28] Vice Staff, “Experimenting with biochip implants,” Motherboard, Oct. 31, 2013; https://www.youtube.com/watch? v=clIiP1H3Opw, accessed Sept. 4, 2017.

[29] T. Johnson, “Dawn of the bionic age: Body hackers let chips get under their skin,” SecurityInfoWatch, Aug. 7, 2017; http://www.securityinfowatch.com/news/12357686/dawn-of-the-bionic-agebody-hackers-let-chips-get-under-their-skin, accessed Sept. 4, 2017.

[30] R. Troup Buchanan, “Swedish firm microchips employees,” The Independent, Feb. 27, 2015; http://www.independent .co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/swedishfirm-microchips-employees-10075400.html, accessed Sept. 4, 2017.

[31] H. Sjoblad, “The coming Age of Human Augmentation,” TEDxBerlin, Nov. 22, 2016; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v= EmxFrf8vMnE, accessed Sept. 4, 2017.

[32] SIME, “Sime Stockholm 2014: Corporate Innovation, Anne Nahkala, Patrick Mesterton,” presented at SIME Conf., 2014; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v= 5GceQHYYotA, accessed Sept. 4, 2017.

[33] DeusEx, “Deus Ex: Mankind Divided presents Human by Design,” DeusEx, April 24, 2015; https://www.twitch.tv/ videos/81526366, accessed Sept. 4, 2017.

[34] S. Stevens and S. Korporaal, Chipmylife.com, Sept. 6, 2017; https://chipmylife .io/, accessed Sept. 4, 2017.

[35] A. Sjöström, “Boarding a flight with an NFC implant,” Sogeti, Jan. 8, 2016; https:// www.youtube.com/watch?v=ORDjQU5pBc0, accessed Sept. 4, 2017.

[36] M. Astor, “Microchip implants for employees? One company says yes,” NYTimes, July 25, 2017; https://www .nytimes.com/2017/07/25/technology/ microchips-wisconsin-company-employees .html, accessed Sept. 4, 2017.

[37] C. Weller, “A Swedish rail line now scans microchip implants in addition to accepting paper tickets,” Business Insider, June 20, 2017; https://www.businessinsider .com.au/swedish-rail-company-scansmicrochip-tickets-17-6-2017-6, accessed Sept. 4, 2017.

[38] N. Dole, “Sydney man has Opal card implanted into hand to make catching public transport easier,” ABC, June 27, 2017; http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017- 06- 27/sydney-bio-hacker-has-opal-travelcard-implanted-into-hand/8656174, accessed Sept. 11, 2017.

[39] C. Swedberg, “Wisconsin company plans NFC chip implant party,” RFID J., July 27, 2013; http://www.rfidjournal.com/ articles/view?16407, accessed Sept. 4, 2017.

[40] K. Michael, A. Aloudat, M.G. Michael, and C. Perakslis, “You want to do what with RFID?: Perceptions of radio-frequency identification implants for employee identification in the workplace,” IEEE Consumer Electronics Mag., vol. 6, no. 3, pp. 111-117, July 2017.

[41] S.R. Bradley Munn, K. Michael, and M.G. Michael, “The social phenomenon of body-modifying in a world of technological change: past, present, future,” in Proc. 2016 IEEE Conf. on Norbert Wiener in the 21st Century (21CW), Melbourne, Australia, July 13-16, 2016; http://ieeexplore .ieee.org/abstract/document/7547463/.

[42] K. Michael, “Implantable medical device tells all: Uberveillance gets to the heart of the matter,” IEEE Consumer Electronics Mag., vol. 6, no. 4, pp. 107-115, Oct. 2017.

[43] E. Hinchliffe, “This made-for-iPhone cochlear implant is a big deal for the deaf community,” Mashable, July 27, 2017; http://mashable.com/2017/07/26/cochlearimplant-iphone/#9ijsleSJqaqJ, accessed Sept. 4, 2017.

[44] K. Michael, “Microchipping people,” TEDxUWollongong, May 5, 2012; https:// www.youtube.com/watch?v=fnghvVR5Evc, accessed Sept. 4, 2017.

[45] M.G. Michael and K. Michael, “Toward a state of Überveillance,” IEEE Technology and Society Mag., vol. 29, no. 2, pp. 9-16, 2010; http://ieeexplore.ieee .org/document/5475070/.

[46] K. Michael and R. Clarke, “Location and tracking of mobile devices: Überveillance stalks the streets,” Computer Law and Security Rev., vol. 29, no. 3, pp. 216-228, 2013.

[47] T. Ong, “KFC in China tests letting people pay by smiling: Pay using your face and cellphone number,” The Verge, Sept. 4, 2017; https://www.theverge .com/2017/9/4/16251304/kfc-china-alipayant-financial-smile-to-pay, accessed Sept. 5, 2017.

[48] A. Hawkins, “KFC China is using facial recognition tech to serve customers – but are they buying it?,” The Guardian, Jan. 11, 2017; https://www.theguardian .com/ technology/2017/jan/11/china-beijingfirst-smart-restaurant-kfc-facial-recognition, accessed Sept. 11, 2017.

[49] C. Perakslis and R. Wolk, “Social acceptance of RFID as a biometric security method,” in Proc. 2005 Int. Symp. Technology and Society, Weapons and Wires: Prevention and Safety in a Time of Fear, pp. 79-87.

[50] K. Johnston, K. Michael, and M.G. Michael, “Consumer awareness in Australia on the prospect of humancentric RFID Implants for personalised applications,” presented at. ICMB ’07 (Toronto, Canada), 2007; https://works.bepress.com/ kmichael/149/.

[51] EDRI-gram, “Survey on chip implants in Germany,” Digital Civil Rights in Europe, Mar. 10, 2010; http://history.edri.org/ edrigram/number8.5/study-human-chipsgermany.

[52] A. Donoghue “CeBIT: Quarter Of Germans happy to have chip implants,” Silicon, Mar. 10, 2010; http://www.silicon .co.uk/workspace/cebit-quarter-of-germanshappy-to-have-chip-implants-5590?inf_ by=59a906c7671db8300a8b46f4, accessed Sept. 1, 2017.

[53] K. Michael and M.G. Michael, Survey conducted Jan. 2013; results not yet analyzed.

[54] K. Michael, and M.G. Michael, Survey conducted Oct. 2013; results not yet published.

[55] R. Boden, “Half of Brits expect to replace cash with new technologies,” NFC World, Aug. 28, 2015; https://www.nfcworld .com/2015/08/28/337345/half-of-britsexpect-to-replace-cash-with-new-technologies/, accessed Sept. 1, 2017.

[56] PWC, “Workforce of the future: The competing forces shaping 2030,” PWC’s People and Organisation Practice, http://www .pwc.com.au/media-centre/assets/workforceof-the-future.pdf, accessed Sept. 1, 2017.

[57] E. Hannan and S. Fox Koob, “Worker chip implants ‘only matter of time’,” The Australian, http://www.theaustralian.com .au/business/technology/worker-chip-implantsonly-matter-of-time/news-story/1f9f9317cc 84f365410a089566153f51, accessed Sept. 1, 2017.

[58] D. Powell, “Two thirds of workers open to “physical and mental augmentations” like microchips, but are there ethical issues?” Smartcompany, Aug. 4, 2017; https://www.smartcompany.com.au/peoplehuman-resources/two-thirds-workers-openphysical-mental-augmentations-likemicrochips-ethical-issues/.

[59] C. Warzel, “I put a payment chip in my hand to replace my wallet,” BuzzFeed: The Future of Money, May. 21, 2016; https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_ continue=3&v=hTBJ6OIGkzc, accessed Nov. 20, 2017.

[60] M.G. Michael and K. Michael, “Resistance is not futile, nil desperandum,” IEEE Technology and Society Mag., pp. 10-13, Sept. 2015; http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/stamp/ stamp.jsp?arnumber=7270446.

[61] K. Michael, C. Perakslis, and M.G. Michael, “Microchip implants for employees in the workplace: Findings from a multicountry survey of small business owners,” in Surveillance in Everyday Life, Gavin Smith, Ed. University of Sydney, Feb. 20, 2012.

[62] C. Perakslis, K. Michael, M.G. Michael, and R. Gable, “Perceived barriers for implanting microchips in humans,” in Proc. 2014 IEEE Conf. on Norbert Wiener in the 21st Century (21CW), 2014.

[63] A. Heber, “A quarter of Australians are OK having a chip implanted in them to pay for stuff,” Business Insider, May 26, 2015; https://www.businessinsider.com. au/a-quarter-of-australians-are-ok-having-a-chipimplanted-in-them-to-pay-for-stuff-2015-5, accessed Nov 20, 2017.

Citation: Katina Michael, 2017, "Go “Get Chipped”: A Brief Overview of Non-Medical Implants between 2013-2017 (Part 2) ", IEEE Technology & Society  Magazine, http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/stamp/stamp.jsp?tp=&arnumber=8169145, Vol. 36, No. 4,  pp. 6-12.

 

Go Get Chipped - Part 1

For over 20 years, MG Michael and I have been researching the social implications of microchipping people. In 1996 as part of a final year major project in my Bachelor of Information Technology degree at the University of Technology, Sydney, I researched the potential for government identifiers to be implanted in the human body, with supervisor Prof. Jenny Edwards [1].

8038132-graphic-1-small.gif

Influenced greatly by the early works of Roger Clarke [2] and Simon Davies [3] in Australia, I became especially interested in “where to next?” A single image I had come across in the Library of Andersen Consulting headquarters in North Sydney while in my cooperative employment semester in April 1996, has stuck with me ever since. Depicted in a cartoon figure was the body of a man, with a computer “head.” No eyes, no ears, just a blank cathode ray tube (CRT). The headline of that report read: “The Human Metaphor” [4]. In December of that year I found myself working as a graduate engineer at Nortel Networks.

In 1997 Eduardo Kac became the first human to implant himself with a non-medical device in the performance art work titled “Time Capsule” [5]. After injecting an implant above his left ankle, Kac went on to register himself on a pet database. This performance piece was streamed live on the Internet. One year later in 1998 the company I worked for sponsored the Cyborg 1.0 project at the University of Reading and continued support for Cyborg 2.0, alongside Tumbleweed Communications, Computer Associates, and Fujitsu [6]. I learned of this cyborg project through the company's global hardcopy newspaper. I remember sitting at my desk turning to the back page and reading a short column about how implantables were destined to be our future. At the time I had begun a Ph.D. on the topic of “Smart Card Innovation in Government Applications,” but quickly redirected my focus to holistically study major automatic identification innovations, inclusive of chip implants. Dr. Ellen McGee and Dr. Gerald Q. Maguire, Jr., had begun to research ethical and policy issues around implantable brain chips as early as 2001, but I was more preoccupied in how this technology could be used for everyday banking and telecommunications applications as a blackbox implantable in the arm or upper torso.

Prof. Kevin Warwick had become the first academic to be implanted with a cylindrical transponder that not only identified him but also located him in his building [7]. After rigging up the corridors of the Cybernetics Department at the University of Reading, an interactive map would locate Warwick as he walked throughout the building. His office was also rigged up with readers, so that his presence was somewhat ambient — as he walked into the room, the lights would switch on and his computer would turn on to his favorite webpage. In 1999 British Telecom's Peter Cochrane wrote Tips for Time Travellers in which he described a microchip implant akin to something he noted would be a “soul catcher chip” [8]. The year Cochrane's monograph was published, the Auto-ID Center consortium at M.I.T. formally began research on the “Internet of Things,” a term coined by former Procter and Gamble assistant brand manager, Kevin Ashton [9]. Cyborg 2.0 followed on March 14, 2002, when Warwick had a one hundred electrode array surgically implanted into the median nerve fibers of his left arm [10]. Here Warwick showed the potential of brain-to-computer interfaces (BCI) but also the potential of brain-to-brain interfaces (BBI). During this whole period, I was busy working on projects related to telecommunications deregulation across Asia, seeing firsthand the right angle turn from voice to data, and the explosion of mobile telephony and later 3G mobile infrastructure. The world was changing rapidly and I knew I had to finish my Ph.D. as soon as possible. As chance would have it, I headed for academia.

Post the dot.com crash, we were all shocked by scenes such as those of September 11, 2001. It did not take long for people to emphasize the importance of security, and how to address risk on a large scale. Companies like Applied Digital Solutions [11], and later VeriChip Corporation [12] and Positive ID [13], described the potentiality of a unique ID being embedded in the right tricep. This was no myth. Applied Digital Solutions received U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for a personal health record identifier in 2004 [14]. The CEO of the VeriChip Corporation (and later PositiveID), Scott Silverman, pointed to the many benefits of such an implantable. He noted the possibility of such a device being tethered to an electronic bracelet being able to help first responders get out of hopeless situations, like a burning tower that was about to collapse. There were 2996 people killed and more than 6000 others wounded in the September 11 attacks. Silverman emphasized the potential for saving people who were incapacitated and could not tell first responders about their condition [15]. Situations could range from people having an allergy to penicillin, diabetics requiring insulin, or even wander alerts for those suffering from dementia. VeriChip was successful in some high profile chippings, such as New Mexico's Attorney General Rafael Macedo and some of his staff [16], in addition to the Baja Beach club chain in both Rotterdam and Barcelona [17], and later in the small number of voluntary employee chippings at Citywatcher.com [18].

Apart from my thesis in 2003 [19], numerous papers written by academics became available on the chipping phenomenon in 2004 [20], and 2005 [21], including a landmark monograph titled SpyChips [22] written by Dr. Katherine Albrecht and Liz McIntyre. There were several attempts to chip Alzheimer's patients at aged care facilities in 2007, which did not go ahead en masse [23]. Christine Perakslis and the late Robert Wolk wrote pioneering papers on microchipping humans after the VeriChip was FDA approved [24]. In the same year, the EU Opinion N° 20 on “Ethical Aspects of ICT Implants in the Human Body” was published, written by The European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies (EGE) chaired by the Swedish philosopher, Göran Hermerén, and adopted on March 16, 2005 [25]. Among the Group were Professors Rafael Capurro and the late Stefano Rodotà.

For the greater part of the mid 2000s and later, we observed a growing number of biohackers who chose to dabble in “DIY” (do-it-yourself) implantable technology. The Tagged Forum was set up to accommodate fellow tinkerers at the beginning 2006, which became the “go” to” place for learning about how to tinker with RFID implants and what applications to build with them. The Forum soon attracted more attention than it cared for, and was targeted with posts proclaiming members were heralding in the “mark of the beast.” As a result, The Tagged went underground, so they could be left alone to continue tinkering. Building on cross-disciplinary study from as far back as the 1980s [26], MG Michael coined the term “uberveillence” in 2006 denoting embedded surveillance devices, while teaching at the University of Wollongong [27]. An entry on uberveillance later appeared in the Macquarie Dictionary in 2008 [28], proliferating quickly across the web including in The New York Times [29]. In that same year, Pawel Rotter et al. published their paper titled: “RFID implants: Opportunities and challenges for identifying people” in IEEE Technology and Society Magazine (vol. 27, no. 2).

In 2007 M.G. Michael interviewed Professor Kevin Warwick [30], and biomedical device expert Professor Christopher Toumazou, Director of the Biomedical Institute at Imperial College London [31]. Among the popular implantees of that time were Amal Graafstra, Jonathan Oxer and Mikey Skylar. Graafstra was the author of RFID Toys, and was featured in an IEEE Spectrum issue in 2007 [32]. We invited him as a speaker to the IEEE International Symposium on Technology and Society in 2010 [33] which was dedicated to implantables, and co-wrote a paper on implants published in the Proceedings of the conference [34]. An excellent debate on the future of microchipping people using RFID was chaired at ISTAS'10 by William A. Herbert [45]. Months prior to ISTAS'10, I interviewed both the IT Manager responsible for creating the e-payment application at Baja Beach Club [35], and the consultant to Citywatcher.com [36]. These primary interviews formed key foundations into the larger inquiry. By 2009 [37] and 2014 [38], Michael and Michael had authored and co-edited large reference volumes on the social implications of chip implants and dozens of peer reviewed research papers with colleagues and students at UOW (e.g., [39]). In between these two studies, Dr. Mark Gasson had also co-edited and excellent Springer publication in 2012, on Human ICT Implants: Technical, Legal and Ethical Considerations [40]. He was the General Chair of ISTAS'10 at the University of Wollongong, and presented a paper on the potential for humans bearing implants to become infected with a computer virus [41]. At this time, it was clear that IEEE SSIT was drawing in specialists not just in cross-disciplinary fields, but also encouraging proponents of the technology to consider the sociotechnical implications.

In mid-August 2017, I returned from the outstanding IEEE Sections Congress 2017 that was hosted in the International Convention Center in Sydney. I cannot speak highly enough of this event. I presented as part of a panel chaired by SSIT Past President Greg Adamson on “Addressing Social Challenges to Technology” and spoke on the attention that non-medical implantables have received in recent times when compared with the previous decade. Out of the 50+ people present in the room only 4 people raised their hands when I asked the question “would anyone in this room get chipped” [42]? It is important to note that all of the people present were tech-savvy, many of them were entrepreneurs, working in industry or in academia. I contrasted this figure with the very unbelievable figures cited in The Australian that said a survey of 10 000 Pricewater-houseCoopers employees across major economies found 70 per cent would consider using “treatments to enhance their brain and body if this improved their employment prospects” [43]. I made the point that we need to challenge such “claims.” I also made the point that IEEE SSIT has been working in the emerging technology domain asking critical questions since its creation and has had much to do with the study of medical and non-medical embedded devices. That for us as SSIT members, speaking on emerging technologies is not new, and researching them using a plethora of approaches is something we are entirely comfortable with — legal, technical, societal, economic, etc. [44]. I urged people in the room to become members of SSIT, to bring their expertise to such urgent subject areas, to discuss the pros and cons, and add know-how where it was needed — e.g. spectrum, regulatory, health, business, etc. In the December 2017 issue of T&S Magazine, I will continue with a Part 2 to this editorial covering progress in the implantables domain since 2013 urging members to construct projects that will further interrogate the complexities of our technological trajectory.

We should remember and celebrate the contributions of our members and non-members to our Magazine, our annual conference and workshops, specific projects, and papers. Please search our corpus of outcomes on our upgraded web site which now contains a lot of free material, cite them in the future, and challenge people when they tell you that “x” or “y” is “brand new” or “has never been researched before.” It is a golden opportunity to connect people to SSIT, and bring in new expertise and volunteers to focus on our Five Pillars. We must know ourselves better, if we are to expect others to know who we are and what we stand for.

References

1. K. Michael, The future of government identifiers, Sydney, Australia:School of Computing and Mathematical Sciences, University of Technology, Nov. 1996.
2. R. Clarke, "Information technology and dataveillance", Commun. ACM, vol. 31, no. 5, pp. 498-512, 1988.
3. S. Davies, Big Brother: Australia's Growing Web of Surveillance, East Roseville, NSW:Simon & Schuster, 1992.
4. R. Tren, "Trends in the cards industry", Andersen Consulting, pp. 1-99, 1995.
5. E. Kac, "Event in which a microchip (identification transponder tag) was implanted in the artist's left ankle" in Time Capsule, São Paulo, Brazil:Casa das Rosas Cultural Center, 1997, [online] Available: http://www.ekac.org/timec.html.
6. K. Warwick, M. Gasson, B. Hutt et al., "The application of implant technology for cybernetic systems", Arch Neurol., vol. 60, no. 10, pp. 1369-1373, 2003.
7. K. Michael, E. Lawrence, J. Lawrence, S. Newton, S. Dann, B. Corbitt, T. Thanasankit, "The automatic identification trajectory" in Internet Commerce: Digital Models for Business, Australia:Wiley, pp. 131-134, 2002.
8. P. Cochrane, Tips for Time Travelers, McGraw-Hill, pp. 7-57, 1999.
9. About the lab, Auto-ID Labs, [online] Available: https://autoid.mit.edu/about-lab.
10. Kevin Warwick, Project Cyborg 2.0: The next step towards true Cyborgs?, [online] Available: http://www.kevinwarwick.com/project-cyborg-2-0/.
11. J. Lettice, "First people injected with ID chips sales drive kicks off", The Register, [online] Available: https://www.theregister.co.uk/2002/06/10/first_people_injected_with_id/.
12. K. Albrecht, "Implantable RFID chips: Human branding", CASPIAN, [online] Available: http://www.antichips.com/what-is-verichip.htm.
13. Positive ID, Wikipedia, [online] Available: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PositiveID.
14. Medical devices; general hospital and personal use devices; Classification of implantable radiofrequency transponder system for patient identification and health information, Department of Health and Human Services: FDA, [online] Available: https://www.fda.gov/ohrrns/dockets/98fr/04-27077.htm.
15. "Implantable personal verification systems", ADSX, [online] Available: http://www.adsx.com/prodservpart/verichip.html.
16. Mexican officials get chipped, Wired, [online] Available: https://www.wired.com/2004/07/mexican-officials-get-chipped/.
17. K. Michael, M.G. Michael, "The diffusion of RFID implants for access control and epayments: A case study on Baja Beach Club in Barcelona", Proc. IEEE Int. Symp. Technology and Society, pp. 242-252, 2010.
18. K. Michael, MG Michael, "The future prospects of embedded microchips in humans as unique identifiers: The risks versus the rewards", Media Culture and Society, vol. 35, no. 1, pp. 78-86, 2013.
19. K. Michael, The technological trajectory of the automatic identification industry: the application of the systems of innovation (SI) framework for the characterisation and prediction of the auto-ID industry, 2003.
20. K. Michael, MG Michael, "Microchipping people: The rise of the electrophorus", Quadrant, vol. 49, no. 3, pp. 22-33, Mar. 2005.
21. K. Michael, A. Masters, "Applications of human transponder implants in mobile commerce", Proc. 8th World Multiconterence on Systemics Cybernetics and Informatics, pp. 505-512, Jul. 2004.
 Show Context  
22. K. Albrecht, L. McIntyre, "Spychips: How major corporations and government plan to track your every purchase and watch your every move" in Nelson Current, Nashville, TN:, 2005.
23. "Alzheimer's patients lining up for microchip", ABC News, [online] Available: http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/OnCall/story?id=3536539.
24. C. Perakslis, R. Wolk, "Social acceptance of RFID as a biometric security method", Proc. Int. Symp. Technology and Society, pp. 79-87, 2005.
25. Ethical aspects of ICT implants in the human body: Opinion presented to the Commission by the European Group on Ethics, [online] Available: europa.eu/rapid/press-release_MEMO-05-97_en.pdf.
26. M.G. Michael, "Demystifying the number of the beast in the Book of Revelation: Examples of ancient cryptology and the interpretation of the “666” conundrum", Proc. IEEE Int. Symp. Technology and Society, pp. 23-41, 2010.
27. M.G. Michael, "On the virth of Uberveillance", Uberveillance.com, [online] Available: http://uberveillance.com/blog/2012/2/15/on-the-blrth-of-uberveillance.html.
28. M.G. Michael, K. Michael, S. Butler, "Uberveillance" in Fifth Edition of the Macquarie Dictionary, Australia's National Dictionary, Sydney University, pp. 1094, 2009.
29. Schott's Vocab, Uberveillance, The New York Times, [online] Available: https://schott.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/02/04/uberveillance/.
30. M.G. Michael, Kevin Warwick, The Professor who has touched the future, Feb. 2007, [online] Available: http://www.katinamichael.com/interviews/2014/1/23/the-professor-who-has-touched-the-future.
31. M.G. Michael, Christofer Toumazou, The biomedical pioneer, Oct. 2006, [online] Available: http://www.katinamichael.com/interviews/2014/1/23/the-biomedical-pioneer.
32. A. Graafstra, "Hands on - How RFID and I got personal", IEEE Spectrum, [online] Available: http://spectrum.ieee.org/computing/hardware/hands-on.
33. A. Graafstra, Invited Presentation on RFID Implants IEEE ISTAS '10, [online] Available: https.//www.youtube.com/watch?v=kraWt1adY3k.
34. A. Graafstra, K. Michael, M.G. Michael, K. Michael, "Social-technical issues facing the humancentric RFID implantee sub-culture through the eyes of Amal Graafstra", Proc. IEEE Symp. on Technology and Society, pp. 498-516, 2010.
35. K. Michael, Serafin Vilaplana, The Baja Beach Club IT Manager;, [online] Available: http://www.katinamichael.com/interviews/2015/3/20/r8vw5tpv8rr9tieeg7kgvej2racs5v.
36. K. Michael, Gary Retherford, The microchip implant consultant, [online] Available: http://www.katinamichael.com/interviews/2015/3/20/gary-retherford-the-microchip-implant-consultant.
37. K. Michael, M.G. Michael, Innovative Automatic Identification and Location-Based Services: From Bar Codes to Chip Implants., Hershey, PA: IGI, 2009.
38. M.G. Michael, K. Michael, Uberveillance and the Social Implications of Microchip Implants: Emerging Technologies., Hershey, PA:IGI, 2013.
39. A. Friggieri, K. Michael, M.G. Michael, "The legal ramifications of micro-chipping people in the United States of America-A state legislative comparison", Proc. IEEE Int. Symp. Technology and Society, pp. 1-8, 2009.
40. M.N. Gasson, E. Kosta, D.M. Bowman, Human ICT Implants: Technical Legal and Ethical Considerations, The Hague, The Netherlands: Springer, 2012.
41. M.N. Gasson, "Human enhancement: Could you become infected with a computer virus?", Proc. IEEE Int. Symp. Technology and Society, pp. 61-68, 2010.
42. K. Michael, "The pros and cons of implantables", IEEE Sections Congress 2017, Aug. 2017, [online] Available: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2J3NqhVmWuc.
43. E. Hannan, S. Fox Koob, "Worker chip implants ‘only matter of time’", theaustralian com, Aug. 2017, [online] Available: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/technology/worker-chip-implants-only-matter-of-tlme/news-story/If9f9317cc84f365410a089566153f51.
44. Jeremy Pitt, This Pervasive Day: The Potential and Perils of Pervasive Computing, London, U.K.:World Scientific, 2012.
45. "The debate over microchipping people with ICT implants", IEEE ISTAS 2010 @ UOW - Panel Discussion YouTube, Mar. 2011, [online] Available: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dl3Rps-VFdo.

Keywords

implants, Radiofrequency identification, Mobile communication, National security, Surveillance, Integrated circuits

Citation: Katina Michael, 2017, "Go Get Chipped?: A Brief Overview of Non-Medical Implants between 1997-2013 (Part 1)", IEEE Technology and Society Magazine, 36(3), pp. 6-9.