Barcode Everyone at Birth!

says writer Elizabeth Moon.

If I were empress of the Universe I would insist on every individual having a unique ID permanently attached – a barcode if you will; an implanted chip to provide an easy, fast, inexpensive way to identify individuals. It would be imprinted on everyone at birth. Point the scanner at someone and there it is.

Mmm, Elizabeth?

“Also it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name.”

Revelation 13:16-17

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Thomas L. McDonald writes about technology, theology, history, games, and shiny things. Details of his rather uneventful life as a professional writer and magazine editor can be found in the About tab.

  • Gary Chapin

    Let me see your ID.

  • Gary Chapin

    Oh … and social security numbers will NEVER … we swear … be used for identification.

  • Thomas L. McDonald

    Just wait until they realize they can track you and tax you for just walking somewhere. All for your own convenience, of course.

  • julian

    i just don’t get it. where did these people go to school that they missed having to read any number of popular dystopian novels from the last century that warned about this nonsense?

  • Jeffrey Miller

    Well not really. What is not being covered is the context. As Maureen at “Aliens in this World” writes:

    “Mostly it’s a discussion show, but there’s also a feature where each guest should come up with some crazy, wacky idea and talk about it for 60 seconds. This portion of the show is “The Sixty Second Idea.”

    So yeah, in typical geeky style, because she was thinking about the identification of dead and unconscious persons, probably because she works with horses tattooed with numbers in the mouth to prevent theft and fraud, and probably because the story of a lost and unidentified child is at the heart of her first and current fantasy novel series, she picked the crazy idea of a universal ID system for humans, with the ID applied at birth.

    What she didn’t realize was that The Sixty Second Idea is also a promotional feature on the BBC radio websites. On the webpage, these are presented not as crazy theoreticals shot out there for fun and funniness, but as things seriously advocated and pushed by the person. And of course they picked a scary graphic and so forth.”

  • Thomas L. McDonald

    Glad to hear she wasn’t being serious. It’s not at all hard to imagine someone thinking this might be a good idea.

  • Ron19

    Can you imagine?
    Just scan the barcode on some convenient place, like the pad of your right thumb.

    Oh, wait a minute. That’s what the California DMV did for my last driver’s license renewal.
    Deja vu all over again, and back to the future.

  • Ron19

    For example, Minority Report.

  • Jubal
    Has an interesting discussion about RFID technology and its deployment beginning at about 16 minute mark.

    The 60 Second Idea describes itself thus:

    Each week a global thinker from the worlds of philosophy, science, psychology or the arts is given a minute to put forward a radical, inspiring or controversial idea – no matter how improbable – that they believe would change the world. [emphasis mine]
    Full story:

    I’d say she’s serious Mr Miller.