Do you remember Frankenstein’s cult film from 1931 or later versions of this in the form of RoboCop and Terminator films? Here we first saw something called a biohack where electronic components are inserted into the human body and these people become something that is known under more names, but the most common is a cyborg. The question arises as to whether everything ended up on the screen or there is a continuation of all this in real life. For a long time, scientists are considering how to incorporate a microchip into a human body and that it does not pose any risk. This would allow us not to think about whether we will forget our smart card or USB token when we go to work or shop. Such a system would allow us to log on to the computer without any problems, pay our bills, enter the rooms with limited access, exchange data with handling and many other things. However, whether this is all good and which risks appear in this case is exactly the topic of this post.
How did it all begin?
The first case was recorded when a hacker made a small NFC chip in his left hand, between thumb and forefinger. He did this by looking at the risks of biohacking. That it was not an isolated case is also shown by a case that happened late that same year when his colleague beneath his skin built a small NFC private key for his Bitcoin wallet that enabled him to shop at stores or to transfer money from the account to account only with the help hands.
What can all be used for biohacking?
It should be noted here that the incorporation of certain electronic devices into the human body may be a necessity, and that this will be a solution to some defect that some humans will possess. An example of this is cyborg Neil Harbisson, who built the antenna in his head in 2003 that allowed him to see colors, although the antenna serves to convert colors into sounds and he can hear it. Also, for some time, medical devices such as the insulin pump and defibrillator used in patients with heart problems can be found on the market. This is certainly more justified about the chip that would be used for payments, and behind this are scientists and doctors who in this way want to help the patients in the first place, and thus this kind of biohacking is much more accepted by people.
What do companies say?
From time to time, companies began to monitor employees. Everything started with smartphones, GPS devices that can be worn or that are in vehicles and that allow companies to track the movement of their employees. However, this is not enough and some have gone much further than that is shown by the case of 2015, when a Swedish hi-tech company embedded employees in RFID chip offices in an office that allowed them to not forget their office keys or the code for photocopier machine. However, a Wisconsin company named Three Square Market (32M) will be the first US company to install RFID microchips into the hands of its employees to show that RFID implants are safe. This company announced that in cooperation with the Swedish company BioHax International (which is usually behind the previous case in Sweden), it will install microchips in at least 50 employees in the company. The chips will be installed under the skin, between inches and index fingers, and will use NFC technology, which is also used for non-contact payment cards and mobile payments, along with RFID technology. Built-in chips will enable company employees to apply to office computers, pay for food and drinks from the slot machine, open doors, use copiers, and more. Todi Westby, director of the company, said there would be no GPS employee tracking and whether it would be time to show.
What can we expect further?
What is particularly dangerous here and need to be pointed out are companies like Google who can see a great way of monitoring the habits and movements of individuals as well as various personal data. Google Glass is actually such a technology that it enables us to improve our movement through the real world from the glasses, reduce the gap between the virtual and the real world, but on the other hand, everything that you see through the glasses can be seen by someone else, and this is of course in this case Google. As for the chips themselves, there is a problem of installation that is not painless at the moment, so much work is done on how to make these devices as small as possible, and even in a variant that scientists are testing is to do it through a tattoo. One of the most famous biohakers is Swedish Hannes Sjoblad, who organizes something he calls an implant party and where people volunteer to implant implants. She says that it started with a small number of 8 enthusiasts as long as they are now in the group and 100 of them.
What are all the dangers?
Apart from the possibility of constant monitoring by someone, there are also problems related to the safety of medical devices because they use a lot of unsafe communication protocols, and that during the development of such devices no one has been thinking about security mechanisms for protecting against hackers. So far, scientists have tested such devices and saw that there are serious safety problems, they have proven that much more insulin dose can be sent to the insulin pump and a much stronger electrical defibrillator than usual, which could easily lead to the death of the patient. Fortunately, this was done only in laboratory conditions and with devices that were outside the body of the patient.
With this post, I just wanted to point out a trend that is currently very current in the US and concerns the chipping of employees in hi-tech companies. Whether there will be cyborg-like Robocop on our streets or will it all make a lot of progress and become aesthetically acceptable and difficult to notice we’ll see soon.