Adonis Diaries

Bar Code on your private parts at birth: For quick control check and accurate accounting?

Posted on: June 13, 2012

Bar Code on your private parts at birth: For quick control check and accurate accounting?

This week science fiction writer Elizabeth Moon argues that everyone should be given a bar code at birth (with slight editing):

“If I were the Empress of the Universe (like Catherine of Russia?) I would insist on every individual having a unique ID permanently attached – a bar code if you will (but where bar code should be attached?)

It is as easy to implant chips to provide fast inexpensive way to identifying any individuals in the World Empire.

It would be imprinted on everyone at birth. Point the scanner at someone and there it is.

Having such a unique bar code would have many advantages:

1. In wars, soldiers could easily differentiate legitimate targets in a population of non-combatants, by simply beaming a laser light at particular parts in the body? (How can such a bar code differentiate among weapon users? Are you born with a subjective indication that you will ultimately be a combatant or a peaceful civilian?)

(I suggest bar codes be attached in the front and back of every individual, best on four sides so that the beam never misses the “collateral damaged” individual in the battle field…)

2. Simple technique could prevent mistakes in identity, mistakes that result in the deaths of innocent bystanders. Weapons systems would record the code of the use, identifying who fired which shot and leading to more accountability in the field.

3. Anonymity would be impossible as would mistaken identity making it easier to place responsibility accurately, not only in war but also in non-combat situations far from the war.”

(Do you have better alternatives for these bar codes?)

You can listen to Elizabeth discuss her idea with aerial warfare expert Elizabeth Quintana and war ethics authority David Rodin in more detail on the BBC World Service programme The Forum, where you can also download more 60-second ideas.

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June 2012

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