"Chipping" is a euphemism for implanting integrated chips/RFID/GPS or other operational circuitry inside a living organism. While opposition to chipping largely revolves around using such practices on humans without their consent, the practice has been in use for several decades already in veterinary, industrial agriculture, and wildlife conservation industries to track individual animals for various reasons.
Serial Numbering Edit
The need to track various sorts of inventory items goes back to the early Industrial Age, with the use of serial numbers along with part numbers. These evolved into more complex computer-compatible methods like bar codes and Stock Keeping Unit (SKU) code numbers, but such codes could easily be lost or vandalized: criminals regularly file firearms serial numbers and stolen car VIN numbers, shoplifters rip off price tags and attempt to substitute them with cheaper tags when not stolen outright.
These practices led to the development or Radio Frequency Identification tags, or RFID, which can be scanned from several inches to dozens of feet away from the tag by scanning units which send out radio pulses that are received by coil antennaes on the RFID tags that both capture the signal in the pulse, but also convert the pulse radio energy into electricity to power the circuits function and retransmission of its own stored data to the querying scanner. RFID is usually hidden within the structure of a product to make it difficult to find or remove without physical damage to the item.
This technology has not only made it easier to minimize theft and fraud, but it has made inventory taking much easier and cheaper. RFID tags can even be used as sensors to measure properties of the items they are embedded in, which is of use by the consumer with smart appliances which can, for instance, scan an RFID embedded in a milk carton. The RFID tag can measure the empty volume of the container to determine when it is empty or near empty via capacitance of the electrostatic field of the cartons interior, which is noninvasive and nondestructive, and can keep the owner updated on when items need to be replaced.
RFID's advantages in distance scanning has led to applications in agriculture, wildlife, and veterinary industries because the RFID chips can be embedded within the body of an organism being tracked: fishery stocked salmon or trout running upstream to spawn, cattle, sheep, and other farm animals, as well as dogs, cats, and other pets which may be lost or stolen.
Applying RFID to People Edit
Because of the demonstrated advantages of using RFID with animals in various uses, it naturally became of interest to various sorts of person tracking: military personnel, who may become unrecognizable by damage to retina, faces, or fingerprints due to combat damage; school children who need to be accounted for at school, and may be easily lost in public, runaway, or kidnapped by predatory persons. The original proposal for the Affordable Care Act of 2009 aka "Obamacare" included a provision for all Americans to be chipped with their full medical files stored in their chips on their bodies, or in a chipped National ID Card.
These proposals for human chipping were met with virulent opposition from various groups including privacy groups like CASPIAN, civil liberties groups like the ACLU and EFF, and religious organizations and anti-government right wing groups that had a unique stance that see chipping as "the mark of the beast".
Beyond RFID Edit
Transhumanists see far more uses for use of embedded chips beyond RFID tagging, such as active medical monitoring aka the Star Trek Tricorder technologies, as well as brain-circuit interfaces for various sorts of augmentational technologies like Cochlear Implants to restore hearing, Optical Implants to restore vision, timing chips in heart pacemakers, to control epliptic and parkinsons patients seizures and shaking, and motor neuron implants that interface cybernetic prosthetic mechanisms with the nervous system to provide near-human or even better than human physical performance.
Consensual Use Edit
The important issue to do with chipping is largely to do with the consent of the individual implanted, and their privacy and control over their data generated by their use of the chips implanted in them. While Technoprogressives tend to prefer compulsory usage in keeping with their collectivist instincts, technolibertarians wish to retain complete control over whether or when to chip with the individual sapients receiving them.