Barcode Tattoos Could Lead to Cashless Purchasing
A patent was recently filed by Thomas Heeter to create a barcoded system that would lead to a cashless society. Basically, the abstract of his patent describes a financial barcode that would be tattooed on people. Upon checkout, the barcode tattoo would be scanned* with a barcode scanner and automatically identify the individual in a database. Once the individual was properly identified, his or her debit/credit account would be charged, completing the transaction.
While this may seem futuristic and unrealistic, a cashless society may not be too far off. In a society where debit/credit card usage has surpassed cash, it could only be a matter of time before a barcode verification and cashless purchasing system is implemented.
However, if every citizen did receive a barcode tattoo, almost every action you did could be recorded. Every transaction, visit to a government building, trip to the airport, or police encounter could be tracked and recorded.
While the system is still in very early stages of development, there are many other factors that need to be taken into consideration, namely, security. Since long-range barcode scanners already exist, how will criminals be prevented from stealing information. If your personal and bank account information is all stored within a barcode, it may be easy for hackers to scan and steal that information.
Although some may like the idea of a barcode tattoo for cashless purchasing conveniences, and not ever having to worry about losing a wallet again, many are very skeptical. Besides the obvious privacy and security issues, many people are against tattoos due to cultural and personal beliefs.
What do you think? Would you get a barcode tattoo for financial conveniences, or avoid it because of privacy issues?
*Currently, standard barcodes are not able to be scanned because the lines of a barcode need to be finite. When tattooed, the lines of the barcode stretch and compress with the skin, rendering them unreadable to barcode scanners as of present.