RFID Implantation and Its Security Implications

I was on G+ discussing the potential implications of a new radio-frequency firearm detection device being tested by the New York City Police when a thoughtful commenter noted that he wouldn’t be surprised if the next generation of Americans had RFID chips implanted at birth. This got me thinking …

I would not be surprised if people voluntarily embed RFID chips in themselves and their children as a matter of convenience and security, not fully understanding the larger security implications of their actions. Americans love convenience and it would be fairly easy to achieve moderate penetration of human implanted RFID chips by voluntary means.

Once this moderate penetration is achieved, governments could, with good reason, start giving favorable treatment to those with implanted chips, since these people are easier to track and verify. Likewise, those who refuse to have chips implanted would become a target of suspicion or concern and would have to expend a lot more effort in common activities like making major purchases, going through airport security, voting, … It’s easy to see where this leads.

I’m a fan of transhumanism, though I don’t think the first person who can reasonably be called a transhuman or post-human will occur in my lifetime. But as we begin to augment ourselves with biological and biomechanical extensions, we will eventually reach a point where some of us are far enough along that track to no longer be considered as Homo Sapiens Sapiens. All along this path, the freedom versus security discussion must be held to ensure that we don’t go so far toward one as to make the other impractical.

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