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Digital footprints

Imagine a battlefield with troops scattered across hundreds of miles of inhospitable terrain. As soldiers move through enemy lines, a commander monitors the vital signs of the troops and can even tell if anyone has been injured.

Sounds implausible? Not anymore.

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A technology unveiled Monday called Digital Angel, a microchip worn close to the body, promises to record a person's biological parameters and send distress signals during medical emergencies. The information can be sent to any location, including a physician, emergency-service provider, or battlefield general.

The Digital Angel could also be used to track parolees, the elderly, or valuable pieces of art. Critics say digital tracking of people amounts to virtual stalking and note that many cellphones and handheld devices already have detailed tracking capabilities.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society