Shock grows as huge UK firm consults on injecting microchips into its workers
Chip implants, which triggered lethal cancers in lab mice and rats, and which have never been tested long-term in humans, are about to be embedded into, potentially, ‘hundreds of thousands’ of UK workers.
Swedish biohacking company, Biohax, says it’s in talks with several UK legal and financial firms, which cannot be named, to have some of their staff chipped for ‘security’ reasons. One prospective client is a major financial services firm with ‘hundreds of thousands of employees’.
Jowan Österlund, founder and ceo of Biohax, told the Telegraph: ‘These companies have sensitive documents they are dealing with. [The chips] would allow them to set restrictions for whoever.’
The news caused alarm across the political spectrum. Yvette Cooper, prominent Labour MP, tweeted: ‘Is this real? If so, extremely troubling. [The] idea of employers microchipping workers raises massive ethical questions & huge potential for exploitation.’
David Kurten of Ukip tweeted: ‘Grooming propaganda for human microchipping is beginning. There must never be any obligation for a human being to be chipped, nor any disadvantage or penalty for refusing a chip.’
There was also concern from the Trade Union Congress (TUC) which is concerned staff could be coerced into being chipped. Frances O’Grady, the general secretary said: ‘Microchipping would give bosses even more power and control over their workers. There are obvious risks involved, and employers must not brush them aside, or pressure staff into being chipped.’
The CBI, which represents 190,000 UK businesses, told the Guardian: ‘While technology is changing the way we work, this makes for distinctly uncomfortable reading. Firms should be concentrating on rather more immediate priorities and focusing on engaging their employees.’
There is increasing alarm that if, as now seems inevitable, implants go mainstream, those who opt out owing to ethical, health, philosophical or religious grounds, will be gradually frozen out of jobs and even society.
Those fears proved well-founded when ceo of the World Olympians Association, Mike Miller, said Olympians should be chipped 'like dogs'. 'In order to stop doping we need to chip our athletes… Some people say it’s an invasion of privacy, well, sport is a club and people don’t have to join the club if they don’t want to, if they can’t follow the rules,' Miller was quoted as saying.
In September 2007, the Washington Post reported a series of veterinary and toxicology studies, dating to the mid-‘90s, showed chip implants had 'induced' malignant tumours in some lab mice and rats. The Post quoted Keith Johnson, a retired toxicologic pathologist, as saying: ‘The transponders were the cause of the tumours.’ Johnson had led a study in 1996 at the Dow Chemical Co in Michigan.
After reading the studies reported by the Post, Dr Robert Benezra, head of the Cancer Biology Genetics Program at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, said: ‘There's no way in the world, having read this information, that I’d have one of those chips implanted in my skin, or in one of my family members.’
The three studies performed so far were published in veterinary and toxicology journals between 1996-2006. According to the Post, the studies found lab mice and rats injected with microchips sometimes developed subcutaneous 'sarcomas' - malignant tumours, most of them encasing the implants.
Investigations began when RFID critic Katherine Albrecht was contacted by a pet owner whose dog had reportedly died of a tumour induced by a chip implant. Albrecht's subsequent research into the scientific literature uncovered the studies in question. She brought them to the attention of The Associated Press, which embarked on a four-month investigation and found additional studies.
‘In our research we found between 1-10% of laboratory animals implanted with radio frequency microchips developed cancer adjacent to and even surrounding the microchips,’ said Albrecht.
The fad was brought to a stop but in 2016, it emerged again, this time in Sweden, where office workers enthusiastically embraced implants. Now, more than 4,000 Swedes use them as train tickets, car keys, gym cards, credit cards and ID, and there are thought to be as many as 100,000 ‘chipped’ people worldwide.
It should be noted none of the studies cited specifically set out to investigate the cancer risk of implanted chips, so none had a control group of animals that did not get implanted. In addition, there should also be caution about assuming that because chips have caused cancer in animals they will do so in humans.
Nonetheless, there’s little doubt the case for long-term testing in humans is imperative and urgent given the fact the implants are on the verge of going mainstream and could eventually become mandatory.
Image: Some lab mice died from chip implants when tumours formed around their implants