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Tracking Chip

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Works set in the future or depicting organizations 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 chips that aren't used for tracking or identification, such as the head jacks in The Matrix, don't count as examples.

A Sub-Trope of Tracking Device. Compare Big Brother Is Watching, Restraining Bolt, Scannable Man, The Schizophrenia Conspiracy.


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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.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • In 12 Monkeys, the main character is told that he has a tracking chip in his teeth. He removes his teeth, but is tracked down anyway by another time traveler, who during the conversation chews him out for removing his tracker tooth and forcing his superiors to track him down the old-fashioned way from his payphone call to the answering machine.
  • Inverted in A Beautiful Mind: The main character thinks he's been chipped as part of his being drafted into a super-secret project to defend America from nuclear devastation. He later cuts open his own arm to prove it and finds nothing, but only truly accepts he hallucinated the entire thing for decades (including a college roommate and a little girl) when he realizes none of these people ever aged.
  • Black Widow (2021). When Yelena Belova is sprayed with the antidote to her Mind Control, the first thing she does is slice open her thigh and remove the implanted tracking chip.
  • Blade: Trinity. The Nightstalkers have a satellite-linked tracking node surgically implanted in their bodies.
    Danica: Okay, where is this tracking node of yours?
    Hannibal: It's in my left ass cheek.
    [Danica slaps King in the face]
    Hannibal: Fine. It's in my right ass cheek.
    [Danica slaps King in the face again]
    Hannibal: Okay, I'm - okay, seriously now. It's in the meat of my butt, just below the Hello Kitty tattoo.
    [Danica kicks King in the groin]
    Hannibal: Seriously, just pull down my tighty-whities and see for yourself.
  • Casino Royale (2006): After Bond runs off and does his usual Rogue Agent thing, SIS implants a GPS tracker in his arm to keep track of him. Unfortunately when Bond is captured later on, the villains are smart enough to cut it out.
  • 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.
  • 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 Matrix, Neo is bugged with a tracking bug. It is removed by Trinity.
  • 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.
  • Mission: Impossible – Fallout:
    • Ethan Hunt is trying to locate a Rogue Agent at a charity rave, but he has the code of the RFID tag he's using for identification and uses it to track him down. He then takes his place, but unfortunately a team of assassins is out to kill the same man, and now Ethan is wearing his tag...
    • The IMF team are forced to break Rogue Agent Solomon Lane from his prison convoy. He's been implanted with a Tracking Chip that they first block, then remove and place on a drone copter which is then flown off elsewhere. Turns out they simultaneously planted their own Tracking Chip in Solomon Lane, so they can reacquire him if he escapes, which he does.
    • Ethan Hunt is running across London after the villain who is wearing a Tracking Chip with Benji guiding him. Unfortunately Ethan has to run up onto the roof of St Paul's Cathedral to escape some people chasing him, but Benji doesn't realise this because his map isn't set on 3D. Hilarity Ensues as Benji gives directions that don't match with reality.
  • Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams: Carmen and Juni have dental implants containing tracking chips that somehow don't use electricity and so are the only devices they have that continue working on the island where no electronics work. They take the implants out and destroy them because they realize that they are being used to lure their parents into a trap. It doesn't work because Juni had a similar tracking device in his necklace given to him by Grandpa they didn't know about.
  • 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 The Tournament, each of the contestants carries a tracking device, embedded under their skin, allowing the observers to monitor their movements, and the contestants to track each other. Anton Bogart manages to remove his tracking chip, dropping it in a cup of coffee just in time for Father Joseph MacAvoy, a priest struggling with alcoholism and a crisis of faith, to drink it.

  • 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.
  • Bruce Coville's Book of... Aliens II: Scientists implant these in a bear in Hunters. And it's heavily implied that the human kid they find, who's recently suffered from an Alien Abduction, has one implanted by the aliens.
  • Genocidal Organ: A unit of special forces ambush some soldiers in order to cut out their identity chips and gain access through a checkpoint. They then remove the chips because they're infiltrating a high-security area next, and the soldiers they killed wouldn't have access.
  • 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 Girl from the Miracles District, before sending Robin to work with Nikita, Irena implants him with two tracking chips — one high-tech, one magical - so that she can keep an eye on him, and, by extension, Nikita. This being pretty par for the course for Irena, Nikita quickly has both of them located and cut out.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 Never Let Me Go, the students have microchips implanted in their wrists.
  • In Oracle of Tao, after the Council falls, money is done by implanting people with the Mark of the Beast, which basically amounts to an RFID tag.
  • In The Place Inside the Storm, most people have biosensors implanted in their wrists that serve as ID cards. Tara keeps hers covered to avoid detection, and it ends up being destroyed when she's injured.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Batwoman (2019): Kate Kane captures one of Alice's men and holds him prisoner, but he nearly dies in her custody so she has to let him go, but not before implanting him with a subdermal chip. She uses this to track down Alice and capture her, only to get Lured into a Trap later on because Alice knew the chip was there.
  • Blake's 7. The episode "Rumours of Death" opens with Avon captured and interrogated by a Torture Technician called Shrinker. Avon keeps rubbing his neck until Shrinker smugly informs him that they know all about the homing device he has implanted there, which was left on so Avon's friends would be Lured into a Trap. Avon replies that he was actually turning the device off as a signal that Shrinker had arrived on the scene. Avon's friends promptly teleport into the cell and depart with Avon and Shrinker.
  • The Boys (2019):
    • After kidnapping Translucent in "Cherry", the Boys have the problem of what to do about the tracking chip that all members of The Seven are implanted with. So they cover the room he's imprisoned in with RF shielding foil. Unfortunately an attempt to shoot Translucent causes the bullet to ricochet off him and tear a hole in the foil, letting out enough of a signal to establish his location to within a few city blocks.
    • In "The Bloody Doors Off", Starlight finds herself in increasing danger from Vought Industries and Stormfront in particular, so has Frenchie cut the tracking chip out of her. Given that she too has Nigh-Invulnerable skin this requires a diamond-tipped jeweler's saw, and leads to her boyfriend Hughie getting splattered with blood. Again.
  • 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)
  • In Charlie Jade, all people in the Alphaverse have chips implanted in their arms that act as identification, an electronic wallet and a 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 Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, it is revealed that Paula has implanted GPS trackers in the shoulders of Rebecca, Valencia, Trent and probably most of the other characters. However, limited battery life somewhat limits their usefulness.
  • 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.
  • Doctor Who: In "The Long Game", set in the year 200,000, 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Law & Order: SVU used this twice, with RFID chips that record when the person passes certain points. In one episode, a man had the ID points at his house and his friend's house and business to see if his wife was having an affair. In another, parents who'd lost their daughter adopted a Replacement Goldfish and put the ID point at their front door so they'd know when she was coming and going.
  • In Made For Love, Byron implants a microchip into Hazel's brain without her consent that, besides giving him intimate access to all her thoughts and everything she sees, makes it significantly harder for her to hide from him, since, y'know, he sees everything she sees and can easily identify her location at any given time.
  • In one episode of Moonlight an exclusive club that is somehow involved with vampires requires an ID chip implant, explicitly compared to dogs, for entry.
  • The Outer Limits (1995): In "A New Life", Daniel and Beth give Father, the leader of their religious community, their newborn son William for an hour so that he can perform a private blessing. When William is returned to them, they find that he has a strange mark on the back of his neck that was not there before. Daniel later learns that Father is an alien and the mark was created by a tracking chip being implanted in William's neck.
  • Person of Interest: Team Machine goes to the morgue to examine the body of former NSA agent Alicia Corwin and finds a post-mortem cut on her shoulder where something was removed; a tracking chip implanted by a private intelligence agency.
  • The '70s version from The Professionals episode "Need to Know". The KGB snatch a Double Agent from a Vulnerable Convoy but Cowley reveals he's a Fake Defector who has been implanted with a 'pin' in his elbow months before that's actually a transmitter.
  • 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.
  • Taken: In "High Hopes", doctors discover that Russell and Jesse Keys both have inoperable tumors in their frontal lobes. They turn out to be implants placed in their brains by the aliens. Dr. Kreutz determines that they are tracking devices. Dr. Wakeman identifies the energy signature that each one emits in "Maintenance" and figures out how to track the implants as the aliens do in "Charlie and Lisa".
  • Titans (2018): When Dick Grayson is told that Batman implanted a subdermal tracker on him without his knowledge, he cuts it out with a surgical scalpel. In a later episode, Jason Todd states that Dick has a second tracker "where you'll never find it." Hank and Dawn both go "Eew!"
  • The X-Files: In the 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 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.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Crimestrikers has the Bio Beacon, a device surgically implanted in each team member's brainstem. It also functions as an In-Universe Life Meter, monitoring the health of each agent as well as their location.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

    Video Games 
  • Some of the findable clues to the history of Laurentia in Nexus Clash describe a citywide backlash against immigrants who arrived as part of a world-spanning refugee crisis. One of the hints that something is amiss is a description of immigrant laborers being implanted with tracking chips in order to get jobs outside of the ghetto that they'd been relegated to.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • In XCOM 2, citizens of the ADVENT Administration's glittering city centers want for little, and receive free housing, comfortable jobs, access to gene therapy clinics, and enjoy delicious ADVENT Burgers. The price for admission is an implanted biochip required to navigate the city centers' multiple layers of security, from patrols of transhuman "peacekeepers" to automated scanners. XCOM's current head scientist got so fed up with it that he extracted his own biochip and went rogue.

  • 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 
  • The SCP Foundation implants these in many of its captive anomalies, particularly those which have a history of escape attempts.

    Western Animation 
  • In The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius, Jimmy's mother put one of these in Jimmy's father, just in case.
    Hugh Neutron: Darn thing still itches.
  • American Dad!: In "100 A.D.", Stan reveals that he put chips in Steve and Hayley's skulls and paid extra for Hayley's tracking beacon to turn purple if her body temperature rises, such as during sex, and the ability to make her breasts explode.
  • 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.
  • 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 third season and never mentioned after that.
  • Kim Possible: There are scattered references to Wade secretly tagging Ron with a tracking chip.
  • In The Simpsons episode "The Boy Who Knew Too Much" (S5 E20), after Bart skips school, Principal Skinner tries to track him using a chip system they tried to implement. He then bemoans the fact that the only kids who volunteered to be chipped were the studious nerds, who don't need to be tracked.
  • In the Trolls: The Beat Goes On! episode "Apple of My Ire", while disarming the pranks that he put in Branch's bunker, Cloud Guy reveals that he also put a tracking device in Branch's mouth while he was sleeping.

    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.
    • Naturalists often have to use these to monitor wildlife movements when external trackers aren't an option, such as with aquatic mammals that could drown if a collar caught on underwater debris, or snakes which have nowhere to attach a harness.
  • 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.