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January 14, 2008

UK getting serious about GPS through microchip implants

I have long thought that the idea (and success?) of GPS offender tracking would lead to proposals for microchip implants.  Indeed, in this post last May, I asked "Are microchip implants for offenders inevitable?"  Consequently, I am not surprised to see this news from the UK:

Amid concerns about the security of existing tagging systems and prison overcrowding, the Ministry of Justice is investigating the use of satellite and radio-wave technology to monitor criminals.  But, instead of being contained in bracelets worn around the ankle, the tiny chips would be surgically inserted under the skin of offenders in the community....  The tags, labelled "spychips" by privacy campaigners, are already used around the world to keep track of dogs, cats, cattle and airport luggage, but there is no record of the technology being used to monitor offenders in the community....

The move is in line with a proposal from Ken Jones, the president of the Association of Chief Police Officers, that electronic chips should be surgically implanted into convicted paedophiles and sex offenders in order to track them more easily.  Global Positioning System (GPS) technology is seen as the favoured method of monitoring such offenders to prevent them going near "forbidden" zones such as primary schools....

The Government has been forced to review sentencing policy amid serious overcrowding in the nation's jails, after the prison population soared from 60,000 in 1997 to 80,000 today.... 

More than 17,000 individuals, including criminals and suspects released on bail, are subject to electronic monitoring at any one time, under curfews requiring them to stay at home up to 12 hours a day. But official figures reveal that almost 2,000 offenders a year escape monitoring by tampering with ankle tags or tearing them off....

Harry Fletcher, assistant general secretary of the National Association of Probation Officers, said the proposal would not make his members' lives easier and would degrade their clients.... "This is the sort of daft idea that comes up from the department every now and then, but tagging people in the same way we tag our pets cannot be the way ahead."

Though many may recoil from the Brave New World feel of any proposed microchip tracking system, I think these technologies could and should be used for progressive sentencing reforms.  I suspect many offenders at initial sentencing and when considered for parole would happily agree to microchip tracking over a longer term of incarceration.  Moreover, the fact that "we tag our pets" this way is not clearly a sign it is inhumane; after all, as noted here, those objecting to lethal injection generally want the criminal justice system to adopt the protocols we use for our pets.

Some related posts on GPS tracking:

January 14, 2008 at 07:57 AM | Permalink

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Tracked on Jan 14, 2008 6:36:55 PM

Comments

They would have to kill me before I accepted this. Reminds me to much of the "Mark of the Beast!" It probably isn't this, but still... Scary!!!!!!!

Posted by: ZMan | Jan 14, 2008 12:25:29 PM

I don't believe that w/ current technology, 1) receive GPS signals; and 2) relay the triangulated location outwards. Currently, the best that a chip can do is "passive" RFID technology.

Posted by: S.cotus | Jan 14, 2008 12:36:05 PM

The article describes passive RFID tags that can be readout by a scanner with a usable range of several meters. They also talk about a modified tag that uses GPS to report the location of the tagged person which implies there is a transceiver which would require a power supply.

Some friends of mine did research on polar bears with surgically implanted transmitters so it is possible to implant transmitters. The battery lifetime was very short even though the bears were confined to a pen and they could use a very low power transmitter. I doubt very much you could get approval to implant a radio transmitter in a human.

Posted by: John Neff | Jan 14, 2008 4:53:46 PM

"I doubt very much you could get approval to implant a radio transmitter in a human." You must not been noticing the direction this country has been taking these last few years. Put 'For the Children' in the slogan to promote such a bill in the U.S. and it will pass easily.

Posted by: Mark | Jan 14, 2008 7:49:31 PM

There is a link between microchips and cancer that has been known since 2006 after experiments on animals for human use showed animals showing rapid type cancer localised to the microchip site. I have been looking at microchips as it is being made increasingly mandatory in Australia and don't want my pets chipped for health reasons. Most people label you a lunatic if you object, but there is a health issue here. I'm an HR professional in the federal public sector, a responsible pet owner and trying to get some balanced argument. If you google cancer and microchips there are several relvant sites. Check antichips for scientific results.

Posted by: Kerry Baker | Apr 16, 2008 5:24:31 AM

There is a link between microchips and cancer that has been known since 2006 after experiments on animals for human use showed animals showing rapid type cancer localised to the microchip site. I have been looking at microchips as it is being made increasingly mandatory in Australia and don't want my pets chipped for health reasons. Most people label you a lunatic if you object, but there is a health issue here. I'm an HR professional in the federal public sector, a responsible pet owner and trying to get some balanced argument. If you google cancer and microchips there are several relvant sites. Check antichips for scientific results.

Posted by: Kerry Baker | Apr 16, 2008 5:25:56 AM

we just lost our baby girl on 12-16-08 an after researching this whole chip idea theres no technology of a gps trackable micro chip my dog has a micro chip with home again but it only works to give our info when scaned the idea that it will help with a pedo is rediculous those guys need to be behind bars for good not in the grocery store eye balling my son however i cant wait for the technology to implant dogs and cats to arrive what a relife that would be as far as cancer goes dogs an cats dont live very long so that doesnt make sense either ok thats my 2 cents

Posted by: sad&waiting | Dec 26, 2008 6:08:13 PM

As a parent, teacher and law abiding member of society, I'm sick and tired of hearing about kids being molested, kidnapped and/or killed. This is becoming an epidemic in our society. Do I think there needs to for tougher sentences??? Yes! Do I think we need to be addressing the causes of the epidemic??? Yes! However, neither of those strategies are being looked at. Therefore, when we have the technology to safely track these sick people, I say we do it in a minute. We have to find a way to prevent our young children from being prayed upon. In my opinion, you start giving up your rights when you start being a detriment to society, and pedophiles and sex offenders are definitely a detriment to our society.

Posted by: B. Dysart | Jul 14, 2009 5:45:25 PM

This issue seems very interesting as microchip implants too wide in the field of computer engineering. about
the move is in line with a proposal from Ken Jones, the president of the Association of Chief Police Officers, that electronic chips should be surgically implanted into convicted paedophiles and sex offenders in order to track them more easily. Global Positioning System (GPS) technology is seen as the favoured method of monitoring such offenders to prevent them going near "forbidden" zones such as primary schools....

Posted by: vintage diecast cars | May 5, 2010 6:07:36 PM

I'm truly for - It's not a "big brother" stuff, it's important and critical o those days for a better, safer and faster life...

Posted by: id scanner | Jul 22, 2010 1:30:58 PM

that totally makes sense :)

Posted by: monster equipment | Oct 22, 2010 4:02:58 PM

Very "mark of the beast" if you ask me, but something needs to be done in regards to sex offenders and the like. Our criminal justice system in the U.S. is so screwed up, so a revamp somewhere needs to take place. The safety of our children is just too important.

Posted by: Elliot Cranes | Nov 23, 2010 10:43:16 AM

If it's just used for criminals then I don't see what the problem is. If you are a criminal then you no longer are privileged to enjoy the same freedoms as the rest of us. We tag our pets with micro chops; why not the criminals?

Posted by: Pet Tags | Apr 5, 2011 1:21:11 AM

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