Last month, Brandon Dalaly was asked to show his vaccination certificate at a concert with his friends.
He did not have a physical copy or a digital one on his phone, unlike his friends.
Dalaly, however, surprised the security guard when he put his hand under the scanner at the venue.
The scanner flashed green within a half-second, and the vax details appeared on the screen.
Despite never having to rummage for identification, Dalaly was able to get in.
Now, Dalaly calls himself a “human-cyborg,” very much like the other individuals who have implanted microchips within themselves.
The implanted microchip is a grains-sized capsule that responds to radio frequency identification signals (RFID).
“To me, it’s like having a sixth sense, which you can use to show your vaccine certificate, unlock doors, computers, make payments and share information,” he said to VICE.
Dalaly learned about microchips in humans for the first time in 2014.
Apparently, there’s a company that uses scannable chips that can be embedded under the skin of its employees as work badges.
Dalaly contemplated over the subject for nearly six years before deciding to inject his own RFID implant in June 2020, after the technology had been sufficiently updated for a microchip to perform multiple functions at the same time.
“I use my microchip to store my medical records and work portfolio, as well as to use it as a crypto wallet and to unlock doors,” he said.
The First Human to Have an RFIM Implant?
It has been decades since RFID technology was invented.
It is similar to a barcode scanner in that it uses an antenna for sending and receiving radio waves.
In 1998, Kevin Warwick (a.k.a. Captain Cyborg) became the world’s first person to be implanted with an RFID chip.
His movements were recorded as he opened doors, activated lights, and turned on computers without lifting a finger as part of an experiment.
Decades later, the technology become commercially available on the market.
Many people have adopted this technology in Sweden, where it used to open doors and turn on lights.
A growing number of people are now expressing interest in the idea of transforming their bodies into machines.
“I didn’t actually know anyone else who had such an implant,” Dalaly said.
“So, I joined this Facebook group to speak to others who had also gotten these chips installed.”
A Yearning Online Community for RFID Users
More than 4,000 people are part of the RFID Implantees online community, who either have microchips in their bodies or are contemplating it.
It educates the public about the many uses of RFID implants, which range from security locks to car keys to instant credit cards that can be scanned at will.
By injecting them between the thumb and index finger, these subdermal implants get installed into the human system.
Although some prefer to install it through surgical incisions.
25 Microchips in a Single Body
Some members have more than twenty microchips in their bodies.
A travel blogger from Austria, Sandra Würthner, has 25 RFIM microchips implanted in her body.
Her life is made easier by these chips in various ways, according to the travel blogger.
It helps her store payment information, ignite her car, and many other things.
Her success in storing payment information with an implant in 2017 made her one of the first people in the world to do so.
Despite being a cyborg, she prefers the convenience to the negativity and toxic reactions she usually experiences.
“I’ve always been a sci-fi fan and super into Star Trek, so it’s cool to feel like I have this technology inside me,” she told VICE.
Microchips Unlocking Doors Is not Enough
A hacker from Michigan, USA, named Jake Bachus had the usual implants to unlock doors and store data.
However, he recognized that these obscure implants presented the possibility of becoming an ultimate security solution.
“I built and programmed a regular implant to become the key to my gun safe,” he told VICE. For Bachus, a microchip inserted into his skin posed less of a threat than for people to access something as potentially dangerous as guns, especially since he has ADHD and often loses his keys or forgets passwords. So, he quite literally took matters into his own hands. “It is faster than a digital keypad, more reliable than biometrics, and more secure since someone can see you punch in numbers in a keypad.”
RFIM Microchips Safe Or Not?
A major reason why people opt to implant this chip in themselves is the added layer of security that comes with knowing that their scannable codes are stored safely under their skin.
Although data privacy experts have previously expressed concerns about the microchips’ ability to steal sensitive information by actually getting under a person’s skin.
There are also concerns that the microchips could be used to hack and track people.
In fact, the American Medical Association’s Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs (CEJA) warned in 2007 that RFID implants could compromise privacy.
In addition, it said that the protection of the information in the chip couldn’t be guaranteed.
Technology enthusiasts, however, continue to dispute this.
“It’s easier to track a person using their smartphone than it is through a microchip, which are passive devices and not powered by a battery, but instead, require the implants to be within 2-3 millimeters of the RFID reading device,” said Patrick Paumen, a Netherlands-based biohacker with more than 31 implants.
In many cases, implantees say their microchips are accessible only when someone holds their hands close enough to pull them out.
Most seem willing to accept this risk while others keep questioning their very loyalty to humanity as countless numbers of people get implanted.
“We often get told that it’s the ‘mark of the beast,’ that it signals we have now been taken over by Satan,” said Dalaly.
“I remember I was dating this girl, and when she took me home to meet her parents, her dad said that my microchip meant the ‘end of days’ were near, and even quoted a line from the Book of Revelations that referred to Satan’s mark.”
Controversies Around RFID Microchip and Implantees
Injecting a technological object into one’s skin tends to elicit mixed reactions due to the uncertainty and anxiety involved.
Many people, including Würthner, believe that subdermal implants are deadly, claiming that they have lost friends due to them.
The procedures of walking through metal detectors at airports or whether their scannable chips get rejected are often asked by people who oppose implant usage.
The biggest risk for many implantees, however, resides in redundancy, since technology changes frequently and it is possible for RFID chips to become obsolete.
An implantee, Jack Kingsman has the most to worry about because none of his three implants have proven to be useful.
“One of my chips has a poor antenna, which outweighs any regular usefulness,” he admitted.
“My other implant is a proximity card emulator that can be used to enter buildings or elevators, but sadly [it] no longer works due to a programming error shortly after I got it installed. So, I think I have some useless chips in me right now. But I’ve never been bothered to take them out since they’re body-compatible for the long term.”
However, the implantee community continues to embrace its implants despite the risks and drawbacks, opting to prioritize convenience over an uncertain future.
“Humans are always hiding behind a device anyway, so why not get them installed inside [them] instead?” said Dalaly.
In addition to bouncing ideas on all the inventive ways microchips can be programmed, the group serves as a space for exchanging ideas.
“Unlike piercings and tattoos, these implants aren’t designed to change your appearance, and instead, add practical uses to our bodies,” Bachus said.
“Technology keeps evolving. We, humans, keep evolving. But for some of us, it isn’t happening quickly enough. So, we take matters – and implants – into our own hands. Literally.”