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Mark of the Beast: Australian implants to aid payments with a wave of the hand
It is the future that many concerned citizens have warned for decades about: A world where digital ‘research’ would evolve to include the fundamentals of human biology; A world creeping towards a cyborg-like age with microchips and implants at the forefront – just as George Orwell conjured in his dystopic visions for humanity.
It seems he was right; As we have seen increasing examples of technological tyranny advance exponentially since the new century has begun – such as the development of the VeriChip device, RFID implants for iPhones, houses and much more (we will explore some of these at the end of the article).
This week, in an article published by The Australian, it has been revealed that Visa and the University of Technology in Sydney have announced a partnership to explore the future of ‘wearable technology’, including the development of a new implanted device to make every day transactions easier for the public:
Is it retail therapy gone mad? The dawn of a new cyborg age? Or a new meaning to going down under?
Whatever the case, a fair proportion of Australians are receptive to technology mixing with their precious human organic flesh, if it means making payments at retail stores is easier.
Thirty-two per cent would be interested in paying with a smartwatch; 29 per cent with a smart ring, and 26 per cent with smart glasses.
It is little wonder Visa regards Australians as adventurous with tech. "Australians are among the world’s earliest adopters of new technology,” said George Lawson, Head of Emerging Products and Innovation for Visa in ANZSP.
The article reveals that a concerning number of Australians – including 25% of those surveyed – are ‘slightly interested’ in the notion of having a chip implanted in their skin as an effective way to make payments over the counter, as a subcutaneous chip would let consumers pay at a retail terminal without a wallet, credit card, smart phone or smart watch.
This new approach would allow consumers to simply wave their bare hand over an outlet, similar to phone-and-chip responsive technology already introduced to the retail industry across Australia in recent years.
The survey was conducted for the global payments firm by UMR, who provide full-service opinion research based in Australia and New Zealand and work across the Asia Pacific region.
The CEO of UMR, Campbell White has a PhD in Social and Media Psychology. Furthermore, John Utting – the Company Director – has served as a pollster for two Australia Prime Ministers, three New Zealand Prime Ministers and numerous Australian State Premiers.
The idea of a commerce-oriented chip being implanted into human flesh continues to be normalised in the world today, despite being a topic of ‘conspiracy’ and ‘unrealistic approach’ even a decade ago across the globe.
THE PATH TO DYSTOPIA:
There is, quite literally, so much information out there detailing the incremental steps taken to this point – as there is nothing new about implanting tags under the skin. Despite still being considered a tale of science fiction, the US firm VeriChip obtained approval to do this type of procedure more than a decade ago.
The VeriChip human implant is a glass-encapsulated RFID microchip designed for implantation in the human body. The VeriChip is designed to remain permanently embedded under the skin, and consists of a RFID integrated circuit, a capacitor, and an antenna wrapped around a ferrite core. These components are sealed in a capsule of medical-grade glass. The glass capsule is partially coated in a porous polypropylene substance called Biobond in an effort to prevent the device from migrating within the body.
The VeriChip Corporation markets the implant as a method of accessing medical records in an emergency, for use as a payment device, and as a way to control access to secure facilities. When a VeriChip scanner is brought within range of an implant, the scanner emits a radio signal that stimulates the implant, causing it to emit its own radio signal in response. That signal is picked up by the scanner and converted into a unique 16-digit identification number. The number is used to identify the individual or to call up a related record.
A quick search will also reinforce the evidence to suggest – just as, in this article – that people are willing to subject themselves to this type of procedure to make life easier, such as Mark Gasson in 2009. Mark had a had a chip injected under the skin of his hand, and then infected his own implant with a computer virus, one that he could pass on to other computer systems if the building’s networks were programmed to read his chip. As Gasson breezed around the the workplace, spreading the virus and corrupting computer systems, certain areas of the building became inaccessible to his colleagues.
Furthermore, Reuters reported on office workers implanting chips in their hands; Forbes documented the process of implanting a Grafstra RFID chip in ‘Andrew’ back in 2012; and let’s not forget that TOTT News linked to the Human microchipping: I’ve got you under my skin article that detailed the push to link smart technology with human movements. This is just scratching the surface.
It is appropriate that we leave the readers with a quotation from the final paragraph of the original article in the Australian, to analyse and internalise for yourself.
"Before you see the human species morphing towards a cyborg future, there is a cautious note. Research in the past has linked subcutaneous chips to cancers in laboratory animals at the implant site.
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