The Swedish State Railways has decided to accept under-the-skin RFID tag implants for ticket purchases, arguing it enhances ticketless travel better than having your ticket in your mobile. Actually, they didn’t argue that at all. They just said “we’re digital” and “it works” as if that would justify the rest.

Sweden is a European state which, until recently, celebrated the fact that people were able to travel between European and Nordic countries without a passport or other identification papers. Since a few years back, the governmental train company, which operates with all the efficiency of one, changed all that on its own — by requiring photo ID to take the train just to the next city. The official reason for going all papieren, bitte on people just going to the next town was to “prevent the second-hand sale of attractive tickets”.

This company — the Swedish State Railways — has an insanely bad reputation in the country, known for never arriving on time and for mediocre service. To paint a picture of the service level, the company offers some compensation if passengers get more than an hour delayed with a local train (within the European state of Sweden).

This is the company now priding itself on “being digital” and announcing an extremely privacy-invasive method for travel. It may well be that it’s more convenient. That’s obviously not where the cause for concern is.

“We will never force somebody to have a chip implanted”, says Stephan Ray, press spokesperson for the State Railways.

I wish I could believe this — for this has been the standard line every single time a new privacy invasion has been presented. And there’s a catch which sounds all too familiar:

“We don’t rule out giving special advantages to travelers with under-the-skin RFID chips,” Ray adds.

At what point does this translate to putting ridiculous burden on people without under-skin RFID tags, even if it will technically not require them to implant? That’s usually a few years before the option is taken away altogether, judging from history.

As a final note, the article from the Stockholm local paper also notes that the local buses, trams, and subways are also seeking to start using passenger under-skin-RFID-tags for travel. Yes, you read that right: people in Sweden are seriously considering under-skin RFID tags to be a nice, cozy form of bus and subway ticket.

Fortunately, this is not something that would go over well in other European states. If I were to describe the Swedish attitude to this in a few words, I would choose “trusting and naïve”. This is in stark contrast to other states — say, Germany — which take privacy extremely seriously: Berlin’s ticket vending machines to the local public transport sell paper tickets for cash, and it would be inconceivable to remove that option, as was done a long time ago in Sweden (where you can instead buy identified tickets to your identified phone using an identified credit card).

As a final note, the image to this article shows animal tags. That’s because it’s the technology used. “Tagged like an animal” is quite literal. There’s also the concern of malware infecting such chips, which has been proven possible – and with RFID technology, the malware could spread quickly.

Privacy remains your own responsibility.

Source: https://www.privateinternetaccess.com/blog/2017/05/train-tickets-rfid-tags-europe/

The EpiCentre - https://epicenterstockholm.com/

Part of the Urban Escape initiative - http://urbanescape.se/

It's old news but some readers may have missed it - http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/stockholm-office-workers-epicenter-implanted-microchips-pay-their-lunch-1486045

Then there's the cyborg group in Stokholm.

Read more on them here - http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-30144072

The American Medical Association (AMA) code of ethics released in 2007 to protect patients' receiving RFID implants emerged following an evaluation by the AMA's council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs (CEJA) which discussed ethical issues relating to using RFID implants for medical purposes.

Opinion 2.40 - Radio Frequency ID Devices in Humans

Radio frequency identification (RFID) devices may help to identify patients, thereby improving the safety and efficiency of patient care, and may be used to enable secure access to patient clinical information. However, their efficacy and security have not been established. Therefore, physicians implanting such devices should take certain precautions:

(1) The informed consent process must include disclosure of medical uncertainties associated with these devices.

(2) Physicians should strive to protect patients’ privacy by storing confidential information only on RFID devices with informational security similar to that required of medical records.

(3) Physicians should support research into the safety, efficacy, and potential non-medical uses of RFID devices in human beings. (I, III, V)

"...We've been putting chips in animals for 20 years," he points out. Now it is the turn of the humans."

In a TV interview while still on the board, [Tommy] Thompson was explaining the benefits and the ease of being chipped when an interviewer interrupted:
"I'm sorry, sir. Did you just say you would get one implanted in your arm?"
"Absolutely," Thompson replied. "Without a doubt."
"No concerns at all?"
"No."
But to date, Thompson has yet to be chipped himself.

More here

Jul 17, 2007—The American Medical Association (AMA) has officially established a code of ethics designed to protect patients receiving RFID implants. The recommendations focus on safeguarding a patient's privacy and health, and are the result of an evaluation by the AMA's Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs (CEJA) regarding the medical and ethical implications of RFID chips in humans, as well as a follow-up report recently released. The latter discusses the possible advantages and specific privacy and ethical issues of usingRFID-enabled implantations for clinical purposes. 

Entitled "Radio Frequency ID Devices in Humans," the report is presented by Robert M. Sade, M.D., who chairs the CEJA. It acknowledges that RFID's use in health care "represents another promising development in information technology, but also raises important ethical, legal and social issues." The report adds, "Specifically, the use of RFID labeling in humans for medical purposes may improve patient safety, but also may pose some physical risks, compromise patient privacy, or present other social hazards." 

The AMA's report identifies three specific recommendations: The informed-consent process must include disclosure of medical uncertainties associated with these devices; physicians should strive to protect patients' privacy by storing confidential information only on RFID devices utilizing informational security similar to that required for medical records; and physicians should support research into the safety and efficacy of RFID devices implanted in human beings, and examine the role of doctors regarding the nonmedical uses of the technology. 

The recommendations now serve as ethical guidelines for physicians and caregivers, explains Steven Stack, M.D., a member of the AMA's board of trustees, and are officially part of the AMA's medical ethics code. While not law, the AMA's code of ethics has long served as a standard of conduct defining the essentials of honorable physician behavior. 

"The AMA is the largest professional organization representing the interest of physicians and patients in the U.S.," Stack says, "and the AMA's code of ethics is the most widely accepted guidance for physicians' professional, ethical practices." In fact, he adds, courts and governments often use the AMA's ethics codes as guidelines. 

Central to the AMA's recommendations is that RFID implantable devices still need to be researched. The report indicates such implants may present physical risks to patients, because the devices can migrate under the skin and become difficult to extract. It goes on to say the risks may be minimized "by constructing RFID tags from materials that permit surrounding tissue to encase the device." Furthermore, the document cautions that RFIDtags may electromagnetically interfere with electrosurgical devices (medical tools that use electrical currents for cauterization during surgery) and defibrillators, and that more research needs to be done regarding whether RFID tags might also affect the efficacy of pharmaceuticals.

More here

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