#Open journalism No news is bad news

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support The Journal
Dublin: 4°C Sunday 11 April 2021
Advertisement

Debunked: No, all UK residents won't have to get microchipped starting from January 2021

The letter was confirmed as a fake by the UK Cabinet Office.

Factcheck

A LETTER CLAIMING to be from UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has appeared on Facebook, saying that all British citizens will be RFID microchipped from January 2021.

The letter, which has appeared on multiple Facebook pages, says that a new government initiative will see all UK residents being microchipped.

It also says that the NHS will provide the service for free.

BJ_Fake The letter describes how the microchips will work and that the NHS will provide them for free

It says the microchipping will allow the government to track the movements of “criminals and terrorists”.

The letter alleges that all chips will come with a unique ID, which when scanned would inform the government whether or not a person is wanted for a crime, is an illegal immigrant or a terrorist sympathiser.

The final paragraph of the letter asks the public to voice any concerns to their local MP, asking for feedback before the law is supposedly implemented. 

It ends saying that if you fail to get microchipped after the law is introduced, you will be given a custodial sentence. 

The letter was confirmed to be fake by a spokesperson for the UK Cabinet Office: 

I can confirm that no such letter was sent by the Prime Minister, it is entirely fake.

RFID

The post alleges that RFID chips will be used to track the movement of residents.

What is an RFID chip? Standing for ‘radio frequency identification’, an RFID has two parts: an antenna for transmitting and receiving, and the chip, which stores the tag’s ID and other stored information.

An example of an RFID tag is a microchip used to identify dogs if they’re separated from the owner. They are typically short-range, with low-frequency RFID’s only transmitting up to 10cm. Higher frequency RFID’s can go to around 100 metres.

Dr Derek Molloy of DCU’s School of Electrical Engineering says that RFID chips cannot be used to track people for several reasons.

According to Molloy, RFID chips themselves don’t contain any power source and are only powered by a transfer of energy from a sensor. Molloy uses the example of a gate in a shop, and how it can detect if goods are leaving the store.

“It’s designed to have a very short range, that’s the point of it”

Molloy explained that a massive infrastructure would need to be in place for something like this. Without databases that store the information and physical gates placed throughout the country, the system in the letter isn’t possible.

***

#Open journalism No news is bad news Support The Journal

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support us now

There is a lot of false news and scaremongering being spread in Ireland at the moment about coronavirus. Here are some practical ways for you to assess whether the messages that you’re seeing – especially on WhatsApp – are true or not. 

STOP, THINK AND CHECK 

Look at where it’s coming from. Is it someone you know? Do they have a source for the information (e.g. the HSE website) or are they just saying that the information comes from someone they know? A lot of the false news being spread right now is from people claiming that messages from ‘a friend’ of theirs. Have a look yourself – do a quick Google search and see if the information is being reported elsewhere. 

Secondly, get the whole story, not just a headline. A lot of these messages have got vague information (“all the doctors at this hospital are panicking”) and don’t mention specific details. This is often – but not always a sign – that it may not be accurate. 

Finally, see how you feel after reading it. A lot of these false messages are designed to make people feel panicked. They’re deliberately manipulating your feelings to make you more likely to share it. If you feel panicked after reading something, check it out and see if it really is true.

TheJournal.ie’s FactCheck is a signatory to the International Fact-Checking Network’s Code of Principles. You can read it here. For information on how FactCheck works, what the verdicts mean, and how you can take part, check out our Reader’s Guide here. You can read about the team of editors and reporters who work on the factchecks here

Have you gotten a message on WhatsApp or Facebook or Twitter about coronavirus that you’re not sure about and want us to check it out? Message or mail us and we’ll look into debunking it. WhatsApp: 085 221 4696 or Email: answers@thejournal.ie

About the author:

Read next:

COMMENTS (8)

This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
write a comment

    Leave a commentcancel