Tracking Chip

Works set in the future or depicting organisations with access to advanced technology often show that people have been injected with microchips to be identified or tracked. This can show technological advancement or a lack of privacy for the protagonists.

In darker works, a character may not recall being "chipped" and be alarmed when he finds one in his body, raising questions about who is tracking him and how it was installed.

Note that technologies that aren't used for tracking or identification, such as the head jacks in The Matrix, don't count as examples.

Compare Big Brother Is Watching, Restraining Bolt, The Schizophrenia Conspiracy. This is a Sub-Trope of Tracking Device.


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    Comic Books 
  • An old issue of The Punisher has the Punisher reveal that he had a track chip implanted into his neck, so that his sidekick Microchip would always be able to find his location.

  • In Casino Royale, MI6 implants a GPS tracker in James Bond to keep track of him.
  • Demolition Man. As part of Doctor Cocteau's master plan, almost everyone in San Angeles had an organic microchip implanted in them. Sensors around the city can determine the exact location of any of them at any time. The Scraps clearly don't have chips implanted, or Cocteau's forces would have hunted them down before the movie started. Simon Phoenix is also noted as not having a chip.
  • In Never Let Me Go, the students have microchips implanted in their wrists.
  • In The Matrix, Neo is bugged with a tracking bug. It is removed by Trinity.
  • In Total Recall (1990), Quaid has been implanted with a tracking chip in his head which he manages to find out about and remove before the bad guys can reach him.
  • In Mission: Impossible II, the good guys put a chip in Ethan's head, which transmits his location to a satellite. They tell him, "This chip is completely untraceable." Which kind of defeats the purpose, when you think about it.
  • In 12 Monkeys, the main character is told that he has a tracking chip in his teeth.
  • Jurassic World. Indominus rex has been implanted with one. Unfortunately It Can Think, remembers the device being planted and tears it out. How an animal, no matter how intelligent, would realize the connection between the device and the humans being able to track it (despite never being out of its compound) is not mentioned.

  • In the Maximum Ride series, Max realizes that she has a microchip implanted in her arm, and that this means the lab she came from will always be able to track her. She tries to get it out herself and later has it surgically removed.
  • In The Hunger Games, all the tributes going into the Games are implanted with a tracker so that the Capitol knows where they are in the arena at all times.
  • Great Crystal series by Vladislav Krapivin had a world with Computerized Judicial System using "bio-indexes", set early on and irremovable as they saturate the whole body — it started as a convenience, and in two generations or so ended up in outlawing anyone who remains index-less. Naturally, when a boy with otherwise inconsequential healing talent accidentally purged himself of this thing, the bureaucracy overreacts and Hilarity Ensues.

    Live Action TV 
  • In the Red Dwarf episode "Epideme", Kryten uses a scanning device to identify the dead body of a former JMC employee. He mentions that it is seeking her microchip, since JMC employees are implanted with them.
  • In Heroes, The Company kidnaps evolved humans and injects them with tracking devices ("bagging and tagging").
    • In the first episode of volume 4, Hiro implants Ando with a GPS tracker.
  • In The X-Files third season episode "The Blessing Way", Scully discovers a computer chip implanted in her neck. In later episodes she tries to find out what it does.
  • In The Last Enemy, a government that already makes its citizens carry ID cards everywhere is plotting to upgrade to tracking chips. At least one character gets secretly chipped after attracting the government's attention.
  • In the CSI: Miami episode "Legal", a victim was identified by the ID/credit chip she'd had implanted in her arm so she could go to nightclubs without a purse.
  • In Charlie Jade, all people in the Alphaverse have chips implanted in their arms that act as identification, an electronic wallet and as tracking devices. The plot of the series is kicked off when a women is found dead and the autopsy reveals that she does not have a chip and never had one implanted at all. This is an impossibility in that world so the titular detective is asked to investigate.
  • In the Doctor Who episode "The Long Game" set in the year 202,000, all humans have a chip implanted in them to enable their brains to work as computers. It also allows the Monster of the Week to read their mind.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In the d20 Modern science fiction sourcebook d20 Future, characters can acquire subcutaneous "shepherd chips" as a form of permanent identification, useful for easily trading contact information with other shepherd chip-users as a sort of digital business card. Sinister implications are left unmentioned, but given the name, any halfway creative Game Master could run with it in an instant.

    Video Games 
  • In Syndicate (the original Bullfrog series), all citizens are fitted with microchips that alter their perception of reality. It's the only way they can be made to cope with the misery and squalor of the game's dystopian setting.
  • In The Secret World, new Illuminati recruits are all fitted with microchips at the base of their spine so that the Illuminati can keep tabs on them. This becomes a plot point when you have to track down a rogue agent; later in the quest, he turns up dead courtesy of a horde of angry mummies, so you've got to retrieve his chip.
    • Issue #7 reveals that the Orochi Group's test subjects are implanted with tracking chips to ensure that they can be easily found and recaptured in the event of a breakout. This comes in very handy when you have to rescue two children who've just escaped from an Orochi facility, though it does require you to purloin the necessary tracking equipment in order to follow the signal. Unfortunately, the trail ends with no sign of the children, for something has torn both microchips out of the test subjects and left them floating in a sizeable pool of blood. Suffice to say, this was an update that thoroughly averted Infant Immortality.

  • This is joked about from time to time in Sluggy Freelance, with Riff saying he's put a chip in Torg's head. A Dorito.

    Web Original 
  • In Edict Zero Fis, the Remote Mission Oversight System (RMOS) includes implants to track the location, status, and vitals of agents in the field. A similar system is used with patients in Harlan Hills Sanitarium.

    Western Animation 
  • In the pilot episode of Futurama, everyone has a chip implanted with the information on the job for which he is best suited. It isn't brought up again until the following season and never mentioned after that.
  • In The Simpsons episode "The Boy Who Knew Too Much" (S5 E20), Principal Skinner bemoans the fact that only the kids that don't need to be tracked volunteered to be chipped.
  • In Jimmy Neutron, Jimmy's mother put one of these in Jimmy's father, just in case.
    Hugh Neutron: Darn thing still itches.

    Real Life