A patent for a human tracking chip has been filed by a Saudia Arabian inventor. Not satisfied with the RFID tags used to track cattle and other animals, which require a nearby RFID reader, these implanted tracking chips would be tracked by satellite.
The patent was titled "Implantation of electronic chips in the human body for the purposes of determining its geographical location." The intent is to be able to track individuals for reasons as varied as the governments who might be tempted to use them.
After subcutaneous implantation, the chip would send out encrypted radio waves that would be tracked by satellites to confirm the personís identity and whereabouts.
The obvious problems with this device would be the power required to generate a signal that could be read from orbit, along with a suitable antenna for broadcasting the signal.
A modern example of this idea was seen in the 2006 James Bond movie Casino Royale. I was hoping to scrounge some sort of blurry, barely adequate picture from the film somewhere on the 'net, and then I found this.
(James Bond gets implanted human tracking chip)
The oldest reference I can find for this idea is the "radiant" from Jack Vance's remarkable 1954 novel The Houses of Iszm. When Aile Farr, an Earthman visiting Iszm, he was told that he would be required to be implanted with a tracking device.
Eventually the medics, shaking their heads glumly, returned Farr to the outer chamber, where he was met by an Iszic in a tight white and gray uniform, carrying a hypodermic.
Farr drew back. "What's this?"
"A harmless radiant."
"I don't need any."
"It is necessary," said the medic, "for your own protection. Most visitors hire boats and sail out upon the Pheadh. Occasionally there are storms, the boats are blown off course. this radiant will define your position on the master panel."
(Read more about the radiant)
Farr is not very happy about the idea, as I imagine most of us would feel if told that this was an entry requirement for a foreign country.