The concept of a tracking chip has floated around the minds of various legislators, science fiction writers, and even parents for some time.
Quite an attractive prospect for some, the basic idea is that a tiny chip would be implanted in the skin, allowing authorities to easily track and monitor individuals.
Most recently, Saudi Arabia’s king Abdullah proposed the use of such a chip during a conversation about Guantanamo Bay detainees with White House counter-terrorism adviser John Brennan.
Mid conversation, Abdullah cut in, “I’ve just thought of something… implanting detainees with an electronic chip and allowing their movements to be tracked with Bluetooth, as is done with horses and falcons.”
Brennan was quick to reply, explaining that the idea might be illegal, emphasizing his point by adding “Horses don’t have good lawyers.”
But might GPS tracking implants actually be a reality one day?
Brad Fredricks of BrickHouse Security, one of the leaders in GPS tracking and RFID tracking, explains, “The technology is getting increasingly smaller, but we’re not quite at the point where a tiny tracking implant would be feasible.”
He says that contrary to Abdullah’s suggestions, GPS would be a more viable option than Bluetooth.
“Bluetooth only works within a limited range whereas, GPS trackers can be used internationally and thanks to AGPS, they can even emit a signal underground or in a limited cellular area.”
That makes for constant suspect tracking, no matter where the suspect is.
All civil liberties aside, Fredricks explains that GPS and Bluetooth isn’t even the most high tech option talked about.
While talking theories, he explained to me that if a government truly wanted to track someone, it would theoretically expose the target to a certain amount of radiation.
“By implanting a target with a low level of radiation, the government could create a unique signature ID that would allow it to track this person anywhere in the world. Crazy, right?”
Of course, the main problem is that by exposing a target to that level of radiation, you are in fact, killing him or her slowly.
Currently, state laws are in place that determine who can track and where, and when it is an is not legal. For example in most states, a car owner can place a GPS tracker on his or her car since he or she owns the vehicle.
That means that if their child or spouse drives that particular car, it is perfectly within the realm of the to track them. On the other hand, it is not currently legal to slap a GPS tracker on a boyfriend or girlfriend’s car.
Perhaps one day GPS will become small enough to allow for a GPS tracking implant.
And maybe one day, this will be an accepted way for parents to check in on their kids or for governments to track criminals.
Until that time, we’ll have to stick to the handheld consumer versions and abide by the state laws regarding GPS tracking.