Monday, November 27, 2006

Microchipping me

My daughter and I had a conversation recently about microchipping pets. Three of our four dogs have already been microchipped.

That conversation segued into whether or not there'll be a time in the future when human babies are microchipped at birth. For most of my life I'd have been offended at the mere suggestion of something like that, but now? I'm beginning to like the idea.

So what if the government could follow my comings and goings with their fancy Global Positioning System? I'm not planning to go anywhere I shouldn't, and I couldn't care less if the government watches me go to work or to Wal-Mart. Even if I were inclined to go somewhere I shouldn't (as I any of us might have done a time or two in my the distant past), awareness of GPS monitoring might make me think twice before making a bad decision.

As for all those people who do make a habit of going where they aren't supposed to, I don't care if the government knows about them, either. Think of all the time that could be saved in criminal court and divorce court. "He was there, Your Honor, and here's the printout to prove it."

There'd be no more point in murdering someone and trying to hide the body. Just think about it. If a young, pregnant woman turned up missing, let's say on Christmas Eve, she (or her body) could be tracked down in minutes after being reported missing. We wouldn't have to wait while her husband makes fake pleas for help on TV until his girlfriend sees one of the spots and turns him in. Before he ever stood in front of his first microphone, the cops could tell where he'd been spending his time.

Better yet, let's all have home GPS kits. That way, the young wife mentioned above might still be alive. She'd have tracked his sorry behind on a regular basis and kicked him to the curb well before he had time to harm her.

Another thing I was thinking is that home-based tracking systems could help old folks maintain their independence for a longer period of time. Let's say, for example, that sometime in the future my mind starts to go (I know, it's a stretch, but play along with me) and I start leaving the house periodically and wandering aimlessly down the road. If I had a microchip implanted so my daughters could keep track of me, I might get to stay in my own home longer.

Whichever daughter had the portable GPS in her purse for the week could check the screen every half hour or so. If it shows I'm home, no problem. If it shows I've flown the coop again, I imagine there'd be a conversation along these lines:

Daughter #1 (answering the phone): "Hello?"

Daughter #2: "Hey, it's me, whatcha doin'?"

Daughter #1: "Not much, what's up?"

Daughter #2: "Mom's walkin' southbound on Airline Highway, headed for Sorrento, and it's your turn to go pick her up."

I'm a civil rights advocate from way back, but I swear this idea has potential.


  1. oh that is so wrong...LOL however, I really think for "old timers" disease something like this could work. I also think it would work for people with a mental illness like Schizophrenia. They tend to stop taking meds then skip town. We could pull up the GPS on the PC and dear aunt may could be home by dinner. It sounds funny but truthfully if we ever get past the ethics of it maybe a few people would avoid being on the missing person's list.
    I don't want the chip. Personally, I have a lot to hide so I'm not totally for the GPS thing. Nobody needs to know what I'm doing in the alley at 3am. I don't need cams pickin that's just night right.

    Cap is chipped and the other fur babies will soon be chipped.

  2. Better yet, let's just give chips to those who wish to wear them and leave the rest of us chip-free. I'm more interested in privacy and choice than I am in this kind of social experiment.

  3. Velvet, I almost wrote something like this the other day. If I ever decide to post again, maybe I will write it anyway.

    Please read my post today... it concerns you.


  4. Austin, seriously, I think this is a bad idea in general, although there may be some specific applications for it: convicted sex offenders, for example. I can think of a lot of reasons not to microchip people, but it was still fun to think about.

    Annie, LOL, don't hold back. Tell us what you REALLY think.

    Holly, thanks for the info. I'll respond on your site.

  5. While you have made some very good points, and I'm never anywhere I'm not supposed to be, I just can't stand the thought of ANYONE monitoring my every move. Home of the free...

  6. Sorry for not replying yesterday, as a good cheerleader is supposed to! I think I was hiding from the world of blog, specifically my own, LOL.

    This post made me laugh! Wait - I WAS supposed to laugh, right???

    THREE days left Velvet! Looking forward to your posts :-)

  7. Sure could have used a chip for my Mom in her later years. Once, she wandered off (she was in her 80's and had Alzheimers) and hours later we found her up at the family cemetery. She had walked up there (about 1/2 mile away) to check on her parent's graves. Unfortunately, she had fallen and seriously - couldn't get up. That was a few terrifying hours right there. And there were many more before the tough decision was finally made that she had to go into a nursing home. Interesting thoughts, velvet!

  8. Oh no Velvet! OUr first disagreement... The question isn't whether you need monitoring, it's really whether you trust our government, at all it's levels and in all it's different administrations to monitor with no abuse of that power. And there is the old, old question: Who will watch the watchers?

    For Alzheimers' people, there is some kind of wearable monitor available now. I don't know where it can be gotten. My father also wandered with Alzheimer's and it came up in a conversation about that. And that definitely is a terrific thing.

  9. I was going to write something about this being a slippery slope, but it looks like you've already slid most of the way down it.

  10. Kat, I know what you mean. I wouldn't want anyone to know how long I'm capable of staying in one spot--in front of the computer or the TV.

    Sunflower, yes, you were supposed to laugh; I was being facetious. Although I DO see potential benefits in this technology, the dangers outweigh the advantages.

    Sassy Sistah, we had a similar experience. My father-in-law had Alzheimer's. He walked away from the nursing home where he lived and was found a couple of days later, parched and sunburned, lying in a ditch. He was still alive, thank goodness.

    Third-Cat, do I trust our government? See, this isn't really our first disagreement after all. I am glad to know about the monitors for Alzheimer's patients, though.

    Mike, I did indeed. There are skidmarks all the way down my back.

  11. Gosh I've been busy getting ready for the storm and look at the scandal you've stirred up! Hmmmmm. I might feel a lot safer about hiking around the mountain if I knew someone could find me when I inevitably got lost Carmon

  12. Carmon, LOL, I did stir up quite a breeze, didn't I? I hope your REAL storm isn't as severe as expected. Did you get everything ready in time?

  13. I think our government has enough to do without tracking all of its citizens. But it would be nice if I had a chip and had a handheld device that would tell me where I am and where I'm supposed to be going when I get lost, like the "You Are Here" map at the mall.

  14. Janet, the "You Are Here" chip is an excellent idea. LOL!

  15. This post was a few days ago but I thought I'd revisit-
    Maybe what I should have said was, when it comes to "old timers" disease or people that have a mental illness and they wander off they should have some sort of tracking device, not a chip but maybe an ankle bracelet or something.

    I was sooo kidding about alley activity. I don't hang out in the alley, anymore. no, really though, the whole chip thing would a bad idea because "we" would have to trust that it was used properly. There’s a line in a song by John Mayer that says something like when you own the news you can change it all you want. How do we know the chip feeds wouldn't be changed for the agenda of this or that person? Now, I just don’t mean big huge govt conspiracy theory type stuff but maybe someone could hack into the feed for their personal cruel gain. If someone can hack into a pc why not hack into the feed, change it or redirect it so that it doesn’t record accurately? Just a thought. It could cause more problems than one might think...not to mention how unethical it is.


  16. Good points, Austin. It seems that whatever technology is developed, one group of people wants to use it for good purposes and another tries to figure out how to use it to make some quick cash.

  17. Maybe a cute little bracelet that you could take off when there is the need for privacy. lol "You can find me when I want you to find me!"

    I read that top government officials are being microchipped in case of kidnapping or in such emergancies where they'd need to found in a hurry i.e. hunting in the National Park or something. :)

    Could be a good idea for certain people who, but not somethng I would like.


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