Monday, December 24, 2001

TRACKING MY TEARS (AND EVERYTHING ELSE): Glenn Reynolds passes on this article about why national ID cards are not going to work. Such cards are only as good as the documents they're based on, like birth certificates, which can be easily forged and/or messed around with. That's why, ultimately, we're all going to need to have little tiny microchips implanted subcutaneously that can track all our movements and can helpfully be wired to explosives that only detonate when we leave the fifty states. It's our only option. (Sarcasm.)

But, I mean, if the argument against national ID cards is that they won't work, how can you argue against national little tiny social-security-number-emitting microchips that probably will work? I can see the use of something like this if you have a latex allergy or something and need medical people to be kept aware of that. I guess the best argument against it is that yes, eventually, a ID microchip could be faked too, so why force it on everyone. And the firm in the article is mainly pushing for medical applications right now, though hopes to develop personal identification applications eventually, and some futurist is quoted talking about the fashion applications of the little chip. So I don't have to worry about living in a "bad science fiction film" (as the article puts it) yet. (Like it couldn't happen in a good science fiction film. That's as big a cliche as the old "Biff! Wam! Zoom! Comics aren't just for kids anymore" in every annual read-comics news story.)

Hey, little chips "are already used to track cattle, house pets and salmon." Oh the HORRIBLE FUTURE --when we're no better than a pack of FLOPPING SALMON. And Charlton Heston can come from the past to rescue us: "Get your hands off me, you damn dirty SALMON. The proud human race, reduced to school of god-damned pink fish. MANIACS!" And Obi-Wan (played by Sir Alec Guiness, of course) can be all dismayed: "He's more salmon now than man."

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