The one technology that really caught my eye In Dave Eggers “The Circle” was invention of ChildTrack. In the digital copy of the book on my phone it is first fully described on page 103. We get the description from a character named Francis whom had two of his abducted, raped, and murdered when he was a small child. Dave Eggers does an excellent job of framing this technology as a marvelous boon to prevent such horrors and it is clear from the book that that is how Francis feels his invention will be.
“Sure it’s insane. I mean, some people freak out about chips in our heads, our bodies, but this thing is about as technologically advanced as a walkie-talkie. It doesn’t do anything but tell you where something is. And they’re everywhere already. Every other product you buy has one of these chips. You buy a stereo, it has a chip. You buy a car, it’s got a bunch of chips. Some companies put chips in food packaging, to make sure it’s fresh when it gets to market. It’s just a simple tracker. And if you embed it in the bone, it stays there, and can’t be seen with the naked eye
-not like the wrist ones.”
Even as the character describes his chip as being simply a tracker the book later talks about using that chip to be in identifier for an individual keeping personal information on it. negating the argument that Francis uses above. I find it incredible that even as these chips are described as amazing Eggers prefaces describing them with a story that led to the murders of seven different kids in Denmark.
I think that something that needs to be pointed out is when Galloway talks about computer hackers to the ones that follow protocol the most. In the story of the murders its clear that the abductor knew of the chips since he or she removed them and while it didn’t specify, I would imagine that he or she used the chips to locate the kids.
I imagine that if these chips are implanted they won’t just be a useful tool that only the proper authorities can wield. People who want to achieve their own goals and are intelligent will generally use any tools they have available to them. If I am looking to kidnap a small child then knowing where that kid is at all times would be an incredibly useful tool towards that goal.
Something else to be terrified of is the thought that if the abductors removed the chips from the wrists of the kids after the abductions last time, why wouldn’t they do that again? The suggested solution is to implant the chip in the kid’s bones but that only means that the abductor is required to do more damage in removing them. If the abductor is going to murder the child to begin with, wouldn’t it be reasonable to assume that the abductor isn’t worried about the child’s health or well-being?
When Childtrack is being suggested of course your first thought is meant to be of kids who need to supervised by their parents for the child’s safety. But what happens when those kid’s grow up? If the chip is implanted into the bone then how would they be removed without injury when the individual is no longer under the authority of his or her parents? Who will have access to that person’s location at all times? Would anyone want that kind of tracker on them without their consent because it has become impossible to remove?
I feel that Eggers realizes that this application of technology has more risks than rewards. He does an excellent job of giving the reader the opportunity to ask how could this technology be used for both good and evil despite the optimism of his characters.