Elizabeth Moon: Everyone should be barcoded or chipped at birth [Updated]

Illustration for article titled Elizabeth Moon: Everyone should be barcoded or chipped at birth [Updated]

Military science fiction author Elizabeth Moon has raised some eyebrows with her argument that everybody should have a unique identifier such as a barcode or chip, which would be "permanently attached" and "imprinted on everybody at birth."


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Perhaps because of her military SF background, all of her examples of the usefulness of this system have to do with wartime situations. Like, you could have all weapons set to record the unique identifier of whoever pulled the trigger, so that there would be total accountability. Soldiers could tell legitimate combatants from non-combatants by their barcodes, and only shoot the former. (One pictures a platoon going around scanning everybody's wrist before shooting at them, or not.) There would be total accountability all around, because "anonymity would be impossible."


Update: Moon has written on her own blog that she wasn't being serious.

Reading Moon's brief remarks, you're left feeling as though she's envisioning a society where babies are labeled for war. And it's easy to think of all the ways this system could be hacked — either to facilitate civilian fraud, or to evade accountability in wartime. For one thing, we all know how easy it is to clone a unique identifier. [BBC]

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Derek C. F. Pegritz

I completely support this idea. I would give anything not to have to carry around a wallet full of stupid plastic cards to verify my identity, give me access to my bank accounts, list my medical allergies, and so forth. Mind you, such implanted chips would have to be HEAVILY encrypted in order to prevent spoofing, but that's certainly doable.