A Tracer Implant is a tiny transmitter that is used to track an individual. Tracer implants are typically used by banks and other lending institutions to help secure loans they make. Any loan made for more than 10,000 credits where the borrower does not offer collateral generally requires them to accept the use of a tracer implant.
A tracer's signal identifies the both borrower and the bank that holds the loan. This signal is weak, but it can be picked up by tracer scanners from a range of several meters. Tracer scanners are common in any populated area of the Frontier. All banks and space ports, most stores, restaurants, and other businesses have tracer scanners at their entrances. They are also standard equipment for police officers.
As long as the borrower keeps making payments on the loan, the tracer signal will register as "ok" on scanners. If the borrower skips payments and does not otherwise respond to warnings from the financial institution, the institution will notify all of it's branches to issue warrants for that borrower.
From that point on, if any scanner detects that tracer, it will trip an alarm either at the manager's office or at the nearest police station. Because banks offer large rewards for the capture of loan defaulters, police and independent loan agents will close in on the borrower immediately.
Tracer implants are embedded in the subject's skeletal system, usually on the spine at the base of the skull. This must be done at a hospital or clinic. No reputable hospital or clinic will remove a tracer without authorization from the bank using the tracer.
Tracer implants can also be utilized for law enforcement purposes. Prisoners may be implanted so that they may be found quickly in the event they were to escape. A criminal on probation or parole's tracer will show their status ("OK" if the are complying with their terms of release). A probationer or parolee who violates the terms of their release receives the same treatment as a loan defaulter.
Some corporations require certain employees to accept implantation of a slightly more powerful version of a tracer implant known as a Personal Data Transmitter, or PDT. Some models of PDT not only report the location of the implanted individual, but may also transmit basic health information (heart rate, respiratory frequency, etc) to a central location for monitoring.