Misinformation about coronavirus as ‘a conspiracy to inject surveillance microchips’

Akeed - Dana Al Emam

Social media users on several platforms have been circulating a video clip which claims that the coronavirus pandemic is a conspiracy to insert microchips into the bodies of patients, in order to collect private information about them, and to control their bodies. Akeed investigated this claim and found that it is based on inaccurate information.

The video clip, which was shared via WhatsApp, stated that the microchip contained a micro-antenna to send and receive information, as well as a memory card to store information about the person and their family, including their identification documents and bank account information. The microchips were said to be means to control patients’ body functions, treat chronic diseases, and even control people’s thoughts and actions.

The video suggests that 10 million people have already been injected with these chips since the United States (US) first permitted their use in 2004. It also says that the chips are used on members of the US Special Forces, as well as other armies.

Akeed investigated the roots of this conspiracy theory and found that it started in the US, where employees at an American nonprofit that carries the name ID2020 - promoted as the name of the alleged microchip – received to death threats as a result of the spread of this conspiracy. This falls on the long list of misinformation that has been spread since the outbreak of coronavirus.

The organization in question provides consulting services to help individuals, organizations, and governments improve their electronic fingerprinting abilities. It works in partnership with a number of institutions, including Microsoft, whose founder, Bill Gates, was said to be connected to the conspiracy.

The speculation around Gates’ involvement in the conspiracy is a result of misleading analysis of a statement he made during an online interview, in which he said that countries are struggling to decide which sectors of their economies to allow to remain open during the pandemic, and which should stay closed. He went on to say that “Eventually we will have some digital certificates to show who has recovered or been tested recently or when we have a vaccine who has received it.”

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation responded to the conspiracy allegations, saying that the reference to ‘digital certificates’ pertained to efforts to create an online platform to help provide information about coronavirus tests. They also refuted claims that microchips were being injected into the bodies of those who are sick with the virus.

 

South Korea, for instance, developed a similar online platform, containing detailed information about testing procedures and locations of confirmed cases, in order to help those who are not sick to stay informed.

According to the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, most of the rumors and misinformation around the world about the coronavirus pandemic are connected to governmental institutions, international bodies, and international organizations.

But the video clip does contain some accurate information, related to the American Food and Drug Administration’s 2004 decision to permit individuals to be injected with microchips about the size of a grain of rice. The technology, known as Verichip, was developed by a private company with the goal of streamlining access to patients’ medical records and saving lives through Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology that could read the chip’s information as soon as the patient arrives in the emergency room. A thousand people had initially the chip injected into their upper arm.

The use of microchip implants has spread since then to serve other purposes, such as facilitating access to places that require secret codes, including high-security companies or secured elevators. In those cases, the injection would generally be between the thumb and index finger. The total number of people injected with microchips remains unknown

Akeed calls on social media users to verify the truth and accuracy of information before sharing them, in order to avoid contributing to the spread of rumors, which can subject the user to legal liability

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