As digital data storage devices with RFID tags have gained in storage capacity, gotten cheaper and become smaller, some people have decided to use electronic products that can store their personal information under their skin.
A growing number of people are having small RFID enabled storage devices implanted under their skin to store personal data and act as electronic keycards for entry into homes and office buildings. It is estimated that as many at 50,000 people worldwide have some type of RFID personal device implanted under their skin.
Some people have had more than one of these devices implanted in them. One such person is Patrick Paumen. According to the Wall Street Journal, Mr. Paumen has multiple personal devices inserted under his skin for access to his apartment and office. He also has a another device that stores his business card information for professional situations and one that holds his personal information for social situations.
Other people have used these devices as identification for airline travel and to store medical history and emergency contact information.
These RFID devices can be read by smartphone apps as well as specially designed readers. The devices are small and can be implanted in a person in just a couple of seconds. Once implanted, they can’t be lost or physically stolen.
People who are in support of this new form of personal identification hope that these devices will be able to be used someday to store financial information and make payments. However, the data security and encryption needed for this is still not advanced enough to work with small RFID devices for secure payment processing.
However, along with the promise of each new technology comes new dangers as well. Predictably, hackers will steal the personal and keycard data that these devices store. Just this week, hackers took over the computer system on a Tesla car from 12 miles away, so hacking electronic devices in people’s bodies can’t be far off.
People who use these devices say that they make their lives simpler and easier. In addition to privacy and ethical concerns that this new personal identification raises, a lot critics would probably see more than a little techno snobbery and arrogance in the overuse of this emerging personal technology.