Thousands Of Swedes Are Getting Microchipped Voluntarily, As Opponents Cite Privacy Concerns

Swedes are getting microchipped at a fast rate, but some people are wondering what the consequences could be for one's privacy.

Swedes are getting microchipped.
LevLev / Shutterstock

Swedes are getting microchipped at a fast rate, but some people are wondering what the consequences could be for one's privacy.

You may have heard of people getting microchipped. The quick surgical procedure implants a small microchip, commonly between the thumb and index finger. The microchip can then be enabled and used in many contexts: opening a secured door, paying for purchases, and more.

Apparently in Sweden, 3,000 people chose to get microchipped and some believe it’s due to the nation’s culture of embracing technology, detailed The Local. Others point to the stereotype of the “naive Swede,” someone who trusts authority figures and institutions.

However, some warn that the microchip technology could be abused. For example, Futurism speculated that the “microchipping fad may quickly become a security nightmare.” The concern is based on potential hackers gaining access to the data stored in microchips. Moreover, the microchips could give unsupervised access to one’s intimate data to large corporations.

The microchips that are being planted in people are similar to those used for pets.

One Swede with the microchip, Ulrika Celsing, can now wave her hand in front of her office lock box. Celsing also uses her microchip to pay for items, store information about her gym membership, and even buy train tickets.

According to Straits Times, these microchips use near field communication technology, similar to credit cards. One researcher warned against the possible data that could be collected from people’s implants.

“At the moment, the data collected and shared by implants is small, but it’s likely that this will increase.”

Regardless, those who have the microchip appear to be embracing the latest technological advances.

Founder of Swedish company Biohax, Jowan Osterlund described some of the benefits of the microchip, saying “Being chipped will allow paramedics and hospitals to identify you and get information about medical conditions even if you are unconscious.”

A man named Kevin Warwick was one of the first people to get microchipped way back in 1998. Warwick says that “I have no serious security concerns … People’s cell phones give away far more privacy, but secretly,” according to Financial Times.

However, others believe the microchip is an Orwellian tool that could be abused. Religious people reportedly believe that the microchip is the “mark of the beast” as described in the Bible.

As Swedish citizens accept the microchip as a normal part of life, it may eventually become an everyday practice for people around the globe. Already in the United States and beyond, some companies are offering microchips to their employees.