The Internet of Bodies Ends Bodily Autonomy

internet of bodies

Our interconnected globalized world runs on the Internet. Not that long ago, connecting to the Internet required accessing a computer that was physically connected to a router. Then things went wireless and the rise of the smartphone put the Internet in everyone’s pocket. On top of this was built the so-called Internet of Things (IoT) which was comprised of things ranging from home appliances to munitions with sensors, software, and other technologies to connect to and exchange data with other devices and systems over the Internet wirelessly. The same technologies and concepts which underpin the IoT are entering a new arena called the Internet of Bodies where the human body itself will be online, potentially ending the concept of bodily autonomy as we know it.

In the era of vaccine mandates the subject of bodily autonomy is a hot one. One side of the argument believes that all of humanity must submit themselves to being jabbed with an experimental injection. The rest of us believe that the ability to decide for one’s self what does and does not happen to one’s body is a fundamental right and what makes this a right is self-evident. But vaccine mandates are just one battle in the war on bodily autonomy. There is a bigger fight that needs to take place against the agenda to hook the human body into the Internet.

The Internet of Bodies only recently entered the lexicon—though the idea of using the human body to generate products, resources, and data isn’t new—and it is exactly what it sounds like, “A network of human bodies whose integrity and functionality rely at least in part on the Internet and related technologies, such as artificial intelligence,” writes Atlantic Council member, Andrea M. Matwyshyn in the William & Mary Law Review. “It will challenge notions of human autonomy and self-governance.”

Another one of the first instances of its use appears to come from an obscure Romanian military journal, Land Forces Academy Review. In the Review’s October 2019 edition there is an article titled, “FROM HUMAN BODY DIGITIZATION TO INTERNET OF BODIES TOWARD A NEW DIMENSION OF MILITARY OPERATIONS” by Vasile Florin Popescu of the National Defense University of Romania. Though an obscure source, this brief report encapsulates the obvious trajectory for this technology perfectly. It should come as no surprise that from the earliest days of conceptualizing the Internet of Bodies that the military applications of such a concept were at the forefront.

So, how does one connect a human body to an internet network? Subcutaneous devices injected under the skin, of course. Popescu envisions self-assembling always-on graphene semiconductors which can be powered by the human body’s heat and electrical current, computers made of silicon oxide and magnesium oxide which dissolve in the human body, smart tattoos made from circuits with embedded antennae and sensors being created by DARPA, and Motorola’s “vitamin identification” which is swallowed and activated by gastric acid in the stomach as some of the wonderful innovations by which our bodies can be connected to this new internet. This will all be possible within the next five years in his estimation.

This make it sound like the Internet of Bodies is something still being tinkered with in labs, something still off in the near-distant future. The truth is that the first generation of this technology, in the form of externally worn devices, is already here and is being used to gather data on and alter the behavior of users. In 2018, Strava, a fitness tracking app that logs users’ movements, comically exposed U.S. military operations around the world. Heart rate data from the Apple Watch is gathered by insurance giant John Hancock to verify exercise levels while researchers at FitBit claim to be able to use data from wears to detect COVID-19 cases before symptoms emerge. Let’s not forget about those Bluetooth-enabled track and trace apps rolled out in the name of combating the so-called pandemic.

The next generation of this technology will be the aforementioned internally implanted devices. “Smart skin circuits that are capable of transforming the peripheral nervous system into an interface, cyber-contact lenses, millirobots, digital tattoos, or pay-per-view implants,” envisions Popescu, are some of the inventions that will help to merge man and machine.

Again, these aren’t concepts from a sci-fi story set in the far off future but real technologies being developed in the present.

Work on digital tattoos,  delivered by sugar-based microneedles to track someone’s vaccination status, are being funded by none other than the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. “When the needles dissolve in about two minutes, they deliver the vaccine and leave the pattern of tags just under the skin, where they become something like a bar-code tattoo,” according to researchers at Rice University. These “digital certificates” as Gates calls them have much broader applications than just tracking a person’s vaccination status. A bar-code could just as easily be linked to a person’s biometric identification or Central Bank Digital Currency wallet which can be turned on or off at any moment by those with the power to do so and once off that body becomes disconnected from the network. “Instead of devices connected to the Internet as in the [Internet of Things], human bodies can be connected to a network, with the potential to be controlled and monitored remotely,” writes Popescu.

What about those contact lenses? The Department of Defense and Innovega iOptics have been working on this for a decade. So has Google.

Millirobots (nanobots), which falls under the umbrella of nanotechnology, are already being created by the thousands by companies like Ginkgo Bioworks in Boston. Scores of researchers with transhumanist aspirations hope that one day soon they will be able to create a “human brain/cloud interface” with the help of nanobots. Clyde Lewis explains just how dystopian this would be:

This new concept proposes using neural nanobots to connect to the human brain’s neocortex – the newest, smartest, ‘conscious’ part of the brain – to the ‘synthetic neocortex’ in the cloud. The nanobots would then provide direct, real-time monitoring and control of signals to and from brain cells. Nanomedicine, artificial intelligence and computation will lead this century to the development of a human ‘brain-cloud interface.

“These devices would navigate the human vasculature, cross the blood-brain barrier and precisely auto-position themselves among, or even within, brain cells,” explained Freitas. “They would then wirelessly transmit encoded information to and from a cloud-based supercomputer network for real-time brain-state monitoring and data extraction.”

Things get even wilder when you consider the fact that this could allow for a Matrix-style ability to download reams of information into the brain. The B-CI could even enable us to create a future ‘global superbrain’, according to the team, connecting networks of human brains and AI to form a hive mind.

From its inception the Internet has been a tool of the military-industrial-complex. The creation of the ARPANET, the precursor to the modern day Internet, was fostered by the Pentagon’s “needs for a command and control system that would be responsive to military requirements.” Revelations from whistleblowers like Russ Tice, William Binney, Edward Snowden, and Thomas Drake have shown how private companies like Google, AT&T, Verizon, and Facebook work with intelligence agencies like the National Security Agency (NSA) to use the Internet to gather has much information as they possibly can. Former CIA head, David Petraeus spoke at a summit for In-Q-Tel, the CIA’s venture capital firm, in 2012 practically salivating over the ability to spy on people through the Internet of Things.

The Internet of Bodies will be no different. Popescu closes his article recommending that “the ability of 21st century armies to understand, predict, adapt and exploit Internet of Bodies (IoB) on the future battlefield is essential to maintaining and increasing their competitive advantage.” But don’t just take the word of a largely unknown Romanian military commander. A RAND Corporation research report published in 2020 entitled “The Internet of Bodies: Opportunities, Risks, and Governance” also finds that the military will use the Internet of Bodies to “track the health and well-being of service members, enhance their cognitive and physical abilities, improve training, and enable enhanced warfighting capabilities.”

Not only will these super soldiers outfitted with their smart sensors and devices will be deployed to fight more endless wars overseas, they will undoubtedly be used at home to battle so-called domestic extremists disobeying the government’s dictates. As we reported recently, the Department of Homeland Security recently issued a new terror threat alert which warns of “racially- or ethnically-motivated violent extremists (RMVEs) and anti-government/anti-authority violent extremists” who “view the potential re-establishment of public health restrictions across the United States as a rationale to conduct attacks.” The DHS also notes their concern over “conspiracy theories on perceived election fraud and alleged reinstatement, and responses to anticipated restrictions relating to the increasing COVID cases” which are perpetuated by “Russian, Chinese and Iranian government-linked media outlets.”

If these developments are allowed to proceed then the battle for bodily autonomy will be lost. While the fight against vaccine mandates is a vital one to win we must also stop supporting the economy of the Internet of Bodies. Small and simple ways to push back include no longer using the latest “smart” devices, walking away from a medical system that wants to outfit you with implantable devices, and stopping any support for any institutions that want you hooked up to a human brain/cloud interface.

In short, we simply need to stop supporting our own enslavement.

 

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