Weaponized smartphones and the Internet of Things
I guess I’m not the only person who has thought about the internet of things and implants in our bodies. In 1997, my visionary artist friend Eduardo Kac put some of these issues into play with his art project “Time Capsule” where he put a microchip into his leg, and:
… using a special needle to insert subcutaneously the passive microchip, which is in fact a transponder with no power supply to replace or moving parts to wear out. Scanning the implant generates a low energy radio signal (125 KHz) that energizes the microchip to transmit its unique and inalterable numerical code, which is shown on the scanner’s 16-character Liquid Crystal Display (LCD). Immediately after this data is obtained I register myself via the Web in a remote database located in the United States. This is the first instance of a human being added to the database, since this registry was originally designed for identification and recovery of lost animals. I register myself both as animal and owner under my own name. After implantation a small layer of connective tissue forms around the microchip, preventing migration.
Eduardo did this piece to provoke discussion about what microchips and other devices that can and will be implanted in our bodies mean for us as individuals and for society. Thus the story about how someone could go to a crowded place, locate and disable all the medical implants, in this case defibulators, is chilling but not unexpected.