IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2019 - 21

processes, unpredictable results,
failing fast, experiments... driven by
a long-term vision, way beyond the
horizon. It's not either or, it's both,
and it's important to manage where
each idea belongs.

or the initiatives. How should we
define the purpose of this project?
What are the characteristics it needs
to adhere to? I think right now we're
talking a lot about design-thinking
and design-driven development and
so I don't think it's by coincidence
that we're talking about ethicallyaligned design.

KM: You know, wearing is different
to bearing. In what way should
implants be treated differently to
wearables in design, development,
and deployment?
AS: I've spent a lot of time recently studying and learning about
deep learning and neural networks
and AI. And the 23 principles of
Asilomar [8] that Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking, et cetera have signed
and also IEEE's version to ethically
align design - the 260 pages on
how to design AI [9]. So what I was
thinking in context - do we need a
separate conference defining 18
principles or 18 articles, I don't know,
when it comes to this question? Probably. Because as I said, I think the
two things that need to happen at the
same time are finding out and experimenting. Of course when you see the
concerns raised by just these simple
NFC/RFID experiments, integrity,
security etc. We need to find a way to
secure the process, the management,
the governance. I think it is inevitable - yes the train is leaving - I think
it is inevitable that we are integrating
biology with digital and technology.
I don't think it's in the near future,
not in five years, maybe not even ten
years, but it's down the line. These
questions need principles that we
agree on that go beyond the current
legislation, regulations, and declarations. I don't think that's enough.

KM: As I understand it, you still have
your implant, nearly 18 months (as
of February 2018) after the experiment. What is your approach for
removal for yours and when will you
decide to do it?
AS: I already met with a hand
surgeon and I asked him if he would
assist me in removing the chip,
and he said it wouldn't be a problem. As you may know, in Stockholm this biohacking community is
actually quite active. I really don't
know why, but it's active. So, this
wasn't the first request. So he just
looked at me and shook his head
and said, "you tech nerd." And, so I
asked to have it recorded. And I will
make sure that he makes it a little
more bloody than it needs to be, so
I can discourage other fellow human
beings from doing this experiment,
because NFC chips and RFID chips,
I  think it's nothing more than the
card that you place in the spoke of
a bike - which, sure makes some
noise, but with no relevant purpose.
- Interview Ends-

Comments and Conclusions
Andreas Sjöström is not the only
person who has adopted an implant
for identification and then declared
it not only a "bad idea" but also a
"dead end". When the Food and
Drug Administration (FDA)-approved
VeriChip Personal Health Record
(PHR) implantable was commercialized in 2004, medical doctor John
Halamka, then with Beth Israel-Deaconess Medical Center in Boston,

KM: Are you more referring to principles of implementation, principles
of design, or principles of sort of
human values -
AS: I would say principles of
design. Not just near the implementations but actually in the charters
JUNE 2019

∕

IEEE TECHNOLOGY AND SOCIETY MAGAZINE

MA, was an early adopter of the transponder implant. As a Chief Information Officer (CIO) who was also
an M.D., Halamka was eager to realize the benefits of an electronic
health record. But later in 2006,
together with several security
experts, he proved there were major
security flaws (i.e., namely cloning)
with the VeriChip device [10]. Initially he noted: "that the device does
not generate harmful heat, is safe
for MRIs and from MRI magnets,
and cannot be deactivated by a
magnetic field or trigger." He said
that he had not experienced any
problems with the implant and wanted to investigate the technology as
the Center's CIO for medical, ethical, privacy, and IT implications of
implanted radiofrequency identification, so that patients could make
an informed choice [11]. Although
Halamka chose not to remove the
device, he did note in an interview
with Healthcare IT News that it was
not a very practical solution given the
implant required a minor surgical procedure. He noted: "It's easy to insert
but challenging to remove. I have no
plan to have mine removed" [12].
In 2009, Dr Halamka said that
implantable RFID chips will never
be widely accepted by the public.
Others have removed their RFID
implant transponders or tags successfully with seemingly few issues
[13], but this is dependent on where
the implant has been injected in the
body (fibrous tissue can interconnect with the implant), and the type
of material in which the implant has
been encased (e.g., biobond material) to stop it from moving from
the site of implantation [14]. Unfortunately, "removal processes" for
DIY chip implantees are unavailable
from current resellers on the market,
and the consumer is encouraged to
find their own manner of removal
(continued on page 39)

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IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2019

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