One Swedish rail line isn’t just tearing tickets, it’s also scanning microchips nestled beneath commuters’ skin.
SJ, a state-owned rail line launched in 2000, recently announced that it would begin scanning the hands of people with certain biometric chips embedded in their skin to collect train fare.
SJ estimates 200 people out of the estimated 2,000 Swedish “biohackers” will start using the service, which officially launched in early June, the Independent reports.
Though conductors have run into some issues, such as people’s LinkedIn profiles popping up instead of their virtual ticket, SJ said it has seen success with the program thus far.
“Some people are confused and think they can be tracked via microchip — but [if] that’s something they’re worried about, they should be more concerned by their mobile phone and credit card use,” a company spokesperson told the Independent. “You can already be tracked in many different ways other than a microchip.”
In terms of digital payments, Sweden is one of the world’s most high-tech countries. Only 2% of all transactions are done with cash; the rest are left up to credit cards and various forms of electronic mobile payments. The US, meanwhile, uses cash 33% of the time.
Sub-dermal implants have become a popular form of biohacking within the last few years. People use their implants to lock the doors to their house and car, for example, while researchers at MIT are testing implants that could monitor cancer and other diseases that cause inflammation.
The SJ trial will undoubtedly face some hurdles to going full-scale. Already, people have expressed concern that their financial data might not be secure if it lives in the implant. SJ says it came up with a membership number that each rider uses for their ticketing account, which keeps the information private.
For those brave enough to get an implant inserted into their hand, however, the time they save not standing in ticketing lines may be worth it.
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