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, Scannable Man, 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 tracking chip implanted into his neck, so that his sidekick Microchip would always be able to find his location.


  • 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.
  • Played With in Genome: most people have identification chips implanted into them, but rather than sending digital activation codes, the chips connect directly to the user's blood circulation system, look for a freshly produced leucocyte and transmit the genetic markers unique to the user to the authentication system.
  • In the Ark Royal trilogy naval captains have ID chips in their palms that are needed to issue commands. The Russian agents in the third book cut out Fitzwilliams' chip.

    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.
  • In one episode of Moonlight an exclusive club that is somehow involved with vampires requires an ID chip implant, explictly compared to dogs, for entry.
  • iCarly: The TV movie iGo to Japan has Mrs. Benson reveal that she has a chip implanted in Freddie's skull, and it becomes useful when she and Spencer are trying to find the kids when they're kidnapped.
  • Subverted in the Castle episode "Close Encounters of the Murderous Kind". Castle is convinced that, given the victim died by Explosive Decompression, she was the victim of an Alien Abduction gone wrong, and so a metal fragment stuck up her nose must be an alien implant. Lanie, the ME, puts the kibosh on this: it turns out to be a calcification from a sinus infection that only looked like metal on the x-ray.
    Beckett: There you go. Logical explanation.
    Castle: Yeah. I would disguise my tracking implant as a rare medical—
    Beckett: (ignores him and moves on)
  • Person of Interest. Team Machine goes to the morgue to examine the body of former NSA agent Alicia Corwin, and finds there's a post-mortem cut on her shoulder where something was removed, a tracking chip implanted by a private intelligence agency, apparently without her knowledge.

    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.
  • Anything and anyone in Shadowrun can have a tracking RFID chip, so tag erasers are a very common piece of gear amongst runners. The signature characters relate tales of how a single errant RFID chip can compromise a mission and make it a point to blast everything and everyone they acquire with a tag eraser.
  • In Hc Svnt Dracones most people store their personal data in cloud servers accessed by placing a quarter-sized "Toggle" on a smartglass surface. For just 50 credits a Toggle can be implanted in your palm.

    Video Games 
  • 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.
  • In Quake IV:
    Marine: Hannibal! I need a medic!
    Medic: Who are you? I'm not able to get a reading on your medchip.
    Marine: Corporal Thomas Alvarez. My medchip is damaged.
    Medic: But your medchip's implanted in your heart!
    Marine: I know... I'm looking at it right now.

  • 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.
  • Family Guy: In a Christmas Episode, after Lois snaps and goes on a rampage, Peter mentions that he put a homing device in her skull for such an occasion and uses a laptop to detect her location. Several dots appear on the screen, and Peter realizes he also put some in some squirrels.

    Real Life 
  • In May 1998, Kevin Warwick implanted an RFID tag beneath his skin and used it to control lights, doors, etc. Several hobbyists have followed, such as Australian software developer Jonathan Oxer.
  • PositiveID
  • Civil rights issues covered at
  • Implanted RFID chips/tags are often used for identifying pets, livestock, or highly endangered animals since they are unobtrusive and unlikely to fall off or break like collars or bands can.
  • Some nightclubs offer RFID chip implants to VIPs, who use them to add drinks to their tab.
  • A fairly popular conspiracy theory links the possible widespread implementation of RFID implants to the Number of the Beast. Which, along with more mundane concerns about abuse by authoritarian governments, has largely prevented this trope from appearing much in real life.