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Sci-fi Writer Elizabeth Moon Believes Everyone Should Be Chipped 409

Bob the Super Hamste writes "The BBC has an opinion piece from science fiction writer Elizabeth Moon who believes that everyone should be chipped or barcoded at birth. Her reasoning is that it would prevent identification mistakes and even allow soldiers to identify combatants from non-combatants. Her comments came as part of a discussion on future wars hosted by the BBC World Service."
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Sci-fi Writer Elizabeth Moon Believes Everyone Should Be Chipped

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  • 3 Words (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dcollins ( 135727 ) on Tuesday May 22, 2012 @11:33PM (#40083133) Homepage

    Horrible, dystopian, inevitable.

    • Re:3 Words (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Rude Turnip ( 49495 ) <valuation&gmail,com> on Tuesday May 22, 2012 @11:55PM (#40083291)

      The first 4 words that came to my mind when I read this proposal were yourself, Elizabeth, fuck, & go.

    • Re:3 Words (Score:5, Insightful)

      by eudaemon ( 320983 ) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @12:21AM (#40083471)
      Hi, paranoid science lady. Thank you for putting a friend or foe chip in every enemy soldier fighting against my glorious and righteous cause. I have adapted all my improvised incindiery devices to trigger from their presence. My soldiers can now quickly and safely sweep an area for enemy combatants with nothing more than an RFID gun. Encryption, you say? We destroy all the chips in our equipment so any response at all whether we understand it or not is enough to attack or retreat as we see fit. Of course the secret back door installed by your government was easily reverse engineered and decoded with a few million dollars invested with the right Chinese lab and their scanning-tunneling microscope. I understand your government is enjoying similar benefits now that there are no more anonymous protests, or really anonymity of any kind. You were so right! "something could happen", you said. And now that everyone is chipped it has! We've always been at war with Eurasia.
    • Re:3 Words (Score:4, Funny)

      by arglebargle_xiv ( 2212710 ) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @01:29AM (#40083827)

      Having such a unique barcode would have many advantages. In war soldiers could easily differentiate legitimate targets in a population from non combatants.

      "I say, would you chaps mind stopping your shooting at us for a few minutes? I'd like to come over with a barcode scanner to verify which if you are supposed to be the enemy, so I don't accidentally hit the wrong person. I'll be right over as soon as I've finished this cup of tea".

      "Oh I say! the Cads!"

  • Dont forget to put them in prison exactly after their birth, because, we will know from the very beginning who is the robber, killer, gangster, etc.... Why stop here? Why not give them the appropriate degree and job once they are born, then i wonder, what would be the future assignment of the "Pizza Delivery Boy"? Any guesses? Fry, you shut up, we already know your case.
  • hmm (Score:5, Interesting)

    by smash ( 1351 ) on Tuesday May 22, 2012 @11:34PM (#40083139) Homepage Journal
    I'd rather be misidentified than have my ID chip blacklisted. Do something the government doesn't like? They disable your chip... then you're screwed. No thanks.
    • The chips can't be effectively disabled. You can flag them in the database and deny services, EXACTLY like they already do for people based on your identity. To get around it, you use a false identity. Do you really think a criminal wouldn't have a means of getting a forged chip? I could do it right now for a lot less than $1000, and that's not for one, it's for the gear to burn my own and a bunch of blanks. Of course I'm talking about the ones they implant in pets, but do you really think they'll develop a
      • by smash ( 1351 )
        The chips can be blacklisted, which means when currency is 100% electronic, you're fucked. This is the first stage of that. The "oh we can ID people in war" is a diversion.
      • by Macgrrl ( 762836 )

        The bigger risk is not criminals getting forged ID chips, but having their chip re-linked to an innocent persons record, effectively over-writing that person's claim to their own identity. Done right it would be incredibly hard to disprove and nightmare-ish to reinstate.

      • by Barny ( 103770 )

        Dead bodies suddenly become the greatest source of stolen identities.

    • by c0lo ( 1497653 )

      I'd rather be misidentified than have my ID chip blacklisted. Do something the government doesn't like? They disable your chip... then you're screwed. No thanks.

      Can be worse than a simple refusal of services... someone classifying you as an enemy combatant.

      Anyway, wouldn't it be better to abstain from waging future wars than to rely on chipping your "friends" to distinguish them from your (possible not chipped, thus perhaps freer) enemies?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 22, 2012 @11:35PM (#40083151)

    It's called DNA.

    • by gentryx ( 759438 ) *
      Dear Sir, If I had any mod points left, I'd spend one on this post. DNA as a ubiquitous fingerprint is already bad enough. Kind regards
    • How about the identical twins, triplets, quadruplets?

      Normal DNA tests won't be able to identify which one is which

      • by Jeremi ( 14640 )

        How about the identical twins, triplets, quadruplets?

        Your post's title is correct -- that is indeed a teeny tiny problem. There aren't very many identical twins, triplets, or quadruplets. (at least, not until human cloning becomes popular) And for the people that are identical twins (about 0.2% of the population), the world will just have to live with the fact that there is some ambiguity there.

  • Dear Elizabeth (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SilverJets ( 131916 ) on Tuesday May 22, 2012 @11:38PM (#40083169) Homepage

    I am not a number.

    Kindly STFU.

    • But if you were one, would you feel comfortable as 131916?

    • You've posted here, so we already know you aren't a number, but I can guarantee you HAVE a number. Probably several depending on which company or agency you check.
    • by Greyfox ( 87712 )
      Keep telling yourself that, Mr 131916.
    • I'm sorry to have to tell you this, but unless you live in some unimaginably remote stretch of wilderness, cut off from civilization, hunting and gathering for your food with no contact with anyone outside your immediate and locally housed family unit, and managed to make your /. post via avian carrier routed through a few dozen otherwise unrelated handlers, then you are a number. You are actually several numbers, and while your sentiment is understandable, it is not grounded in reality. Again, sorry about

  • by AbRASiON ( 589899 ) * on Tuesday May 22, 2012 @11:44PM (#40083213) Journal

    I'm not even a smart guy and I can put 2 and 2 together here.
    NOTE: "Sci-fi writer" ,............ this screams "please read my books" or "I have a new book coming, I need my name out there in popular culture for a couple of weeks!"

    We're better than this aren't we?

  • ...when she was attacked by the FailFandom brigade for comments ever-so-mildly critical of Islam [].

    But I strongly oppose this. A government with the power to barcode everyone at birth is the sort of government powerful enough to commit just about any abuse of its citizens. And the well-connected will still be able to get data related to their barcode altered for their benefit.

    I'll pass on the Panopticon society, thank you. And strong private property laws are the first step from preventing it from happening.

  • by Qubit ( 100461 ) on Tuesday May 22, 2012 @11:48PM (#40083239) Homepage Journal

    a chip or a barcode on the skin...

    oh, wait.

  • So the primary benefit listed to chipping everyone, being able to identify and avoid citizens in war, only helps make something we'd like to eliminate completely in the future more efficient. I don't think I'll get on board with this, considering the consequences.
  • ...Then you realize how easy it would be to simply copy or steal someone else's identity...

  • by Okian Warrior ( 537106 ) on Tuesday May 22, 2012 @11:52PM (#40083273) Homepage Journal

    Dear Elizabeth Moon:

    The world does not have one culture. Many do not have the same goals or motivations as yours, some have a different culture, religion, history, sense of self, pride and worth from what you experience in your circles.

    I understand how one comes to love one's own culture. It's obvious, really: you make certain choices and it suits you well, the natural conclusion is that if everyone made those choices, they would do as well.

    This is wrong, and you should learn to identify the ways in which it is wrong. Hasidic Jews do not try to force their ideas on everyone else, we generally don't allow White Supremacists to force their views on everyone else, and we try not to allow other cultures to terrorize us into following their views.

    We are not breaking the law, we are quite happy doing what we do, and we don't need to be forced into things "for our own betterment". You needn't concern yourself about our welfare.

    At all.

    Feel free to convince everyone in your circle of friends, associates, or community to chip, but please don't try to force your views on everyone, who may have a different opinion.

    Signed: Someone with a fucking clue.

  • and driver's licenses to some degree.
  • ...that spells moon.
  • An inconsequential person has an idiotic belief. This isn't news to anyone.
  • If they put it on my shoulder, I'll be very angry...
    • [Where to put the chip?] If they put it on my shoulder, I'll be very angry...


      I'm in a positive-feedback loop!

      My name is Banner...

      Just her suggestion puts a chip on my shoulder that makes me angry at her suggestion that adds another chip...aaagh!!...

      [clothes rip]


      Strat :D

  • Why even talk about something that is not even physically possible? Back alley de-chipping anyone? Guaranteed to fool the chip sensors! Reprogrammed ships for sale! Guaranteed to fool the chip readers.

    Only someone completely ignorant of the world she lives in- what battling computer viruses is like and -what deep seated and destabilizing animosity such programs would engender - could possibly proffer such a ridiculous statement.

    This is publicity hounding and nothing ore, one hopes.

    • by smash ( 1351 )
      So 100% of people are going to go for back-alley de-chipping if it is implanted into your brain?
  • Hold on folks (Score:5, Informative)

    by Dyinobal ( 1427207 ) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @12:14AM (#40083417)
    I'll likely get down modded for this like crazy, but I think everyone is over reacting a huge amount. I actually listened to the clips and it is clear that Elizabeth is talking about a hypothetical situation. She isn't saying she advocates chipping everyone with ID chips in the real world. She was discussing a fictional hypothetical situation she even states it "if I were empress of the universe". Plus she does discuss, the privacy implications, and it's very reasoned. Her main objective was for some sort of method to identify Friend of Foe on the battlefield. She even admits to draw backs and such. You guys are acting like she is some raving lunatic wanting to destroy your lives.
    • At the very end after they get done discussing the "idea" she even says "in fiction it would work". They are just generating ideas to discuss on their show.
    • by LihTox ( 754597 )

      I agree. She's a *science fiction author*; coming up with crazy ideas is her job.

      Although if she were actually Empress of the Universe, why is she allowing people to fight wars? :P Or if it's her troops fighting a rebellion or something, what would stop the rebellion from altering the chips, hiding their babies so they aren't chipped so that they can be part of a long war, etc?

  • Bar code on the skin? Nothing new at all. This is so last millennium. My high school shop teacher had a numeric code tattooed on his arm. In order to avoid problems with miss-identification, just like Elizabeth proposes. It was a little gift he got as part of the welcome package when he checked into the German Stalag.

    I somehow don't think he would have much positive to say about Elizabeth's proposal if he were alive to hear it.

  • Here we are discussing her absurd ideas. This is a media troll plain and simple. Her agent is happy. Her publisher is happy.

    How to media troll? One leads out a sacred cow and kills it. (In this case she has lead out the presumption of anonymity for innocents in a free society. We accept as sacred doctrine (and rightly IMHO) the idea that branding someone is an act society reserves for criminals. And, furthermore, that only a criminal society would brand everyone.) Preferably you kill your cow in the to

  • The enemy will not be chipped.
    I propose she start by getting a chip herself first then we will see.

  • from the only man on earth called Elizabeth

  • Dear Ms moon;
    Yes this will be fine as soon as we can trust every single person in the government... for every government.

    In other words, we will get to it during the reign of Queen Dick.
    (Hey Spider, Thanks for everything. Beers on me, or Bushmills.:)

  • implants, dammit!

  • J. Edgar Hoover wanted this, actually national ID cards with fingerprints. I'm sure he'd be thinking DNA and RFID today. Back then, people railed at the idea of a Social Security number. That was why the government promised that it would remain confidential and only be used for SS benefits. LOL
  • NOT a sci-fi writer.

    Anyway, I listened to the piece. At the end she said it would work in fiction. They do discuss the downside of chipping everyone. I guess the question is, do the benefits outweigh the risks? There are benefits, but the dangers posed by chipping are far greater. There would be no anonymity for the most powerful and spies. The apparatus of power would want the 99% chipped, but not themselves, the 1%. We already live in a police state. If your name gets put on a no fly list, you are scr
  • If our society remains ultimatley ad hoc and individual driven then a chipped id system is not required. But if the government and our whole existence in society is determined by the government's impression of our personal identity then we'll likely need to be chipped.

    Social security numbers, medicade, welfare, food stamps... it's very hard to keep track of all that and fraud increases exponentially with the profit in committing it which increases exponentially as you increase the benefits across an increas

  • Who tried this before on human beings ? The Nazis in the concentration camps.
  • I think that Elizabeth Moon and those who have such awful ideas about our future should be chopped.
  • I like her books, but i think she is way off here.

    It would not reduce civilian casualties, but it would increase surveillance and opression. Just think how this would have worked out here in Germany during the Hitler-years....

  • by Anarchduke ( 1551707 ) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @03:17AM (#40084413)
    Revelations Ch 13

    16 It also forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads,
    17 so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of its name.
  • This was a debate. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Gonoff ( 88518 ) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @08:09AM (#40085691)

    I heard the programme. I get it as a podcast.

    Someone is given 60 seconds to make a suggestion that would change the world. Has nobody else never had to take part in a debate? This is a mental exercise or entertainment not a serious statement of intent. The previous week, the speaker suggested that as people took too many crummy digital pictures, we should all be limited to one picture per day.

    Go and listen to the article and get some context before criticising what we can all agree would be a seriously bad idea.

In less than a century, computers will be making substantial progress on ... the overriding problem of war and peace. -- James Slagle