Research concern over chips with everything
Published Wednesday 28th March 2012
A study by Prof Nada Kakabadse of The University of Northampton and Prof Andrew Kakabadse of Cranfield School of Management reveals public unease about implanting people with microchips.
The joint paper highlights concerns around Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology and explores attitudes towards the ever-increasing prospect of social tagging.
Professor Nada Kakabadse comments:
Our work and the views captured illustrate wider arguments focusing on human rights issues and privacy intrusion relating to IT applications.
This study is intended to offer an insight into the reality and impact of technology. It lists a series of important questions for industry and governments considering RFID use for a variety of options.Professor Nada Kakabadse
Study participants thought the widespread use of subdermal [under the skin] RFID tags in humans was inevitable, but also noted the deployment of implant systems was not being fully considered.
The authors conclude that "caution, naivety and fear" are the underlying reasons for society accepting RFIDs without question, and that RFIDs will become a part of everyday working and domestic life in the near future.
The study also revealed particular concerns about the ownership of implanted tags, medical safety and technical security. Chief questions centred on who would have access to the information tags could transmit, a lack of fully-informed consent before implantation, and a general absence of guarantees against potential human rights abuses.
All participants were concerned about what they perceived as the surreptitious, sometimes coercive nature of implant projects.