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DHS researching electric-shock bracelets to subdue airline terrorists (UPDATE: DHS denial)

By See-Dubya  •  July 9, 2008 05:53 PM

My friend and frequent tipster Ol’ Shootin’ Buddy never steers me wrong, but…is this for real?

Back in March, Gadling blogged about a firearm training system, Lamperd, which had patented a bracelet that worked like a stun gun when activated.

That’s right. Your tax dollars are funding the R&D arm of DHS, which wants to develop technology that acts essentially as a GPS attached to your wrist, allowing the government to track pretty much everywhere you go once you check in for your flight, and giving the flight crew the ability to waylay you if you get out of hand.

I think they’re serious. The Washington Times thinks they’re serious. The Lamperd product concept video they’re referring to mentions that cockpit doors won’t be hardened “until 2003”. So this idea’s been percolating a while and is apparently still getting some backing:

Lamperd clarifies to the Wash Times that the stun-gun system would only work if it was enabled by a crew member during a hijacking situation. I’ve got a better idea–just give it the control to the passenger in the seat directly behind each passenger. It may not fight terrorism, but it would make flying much more civil.

Seriously, though: I’m all for exploring innovative approaches to airline security, but this is not encouraging. I’m getting sort of an OCP/ ED-209/ I think you’d better do what he says, Mr. Kinney vibe from that video, and I would not be excited to clamp an electric-shock bracelet around my child’s wrist.

Other people’s children, definitely. They need it. But not mine.

P.S. what happens if a terrorist manages to switch wristbands with someone else? Then the crew is sitting there zapping away at the wrong guy, and the terrorist gets a good laugh before he does his thing.

Via “securitymom” in the comments:

Michelle, this story isn’t true. Those of us on the TSA blog looked into it because we hasn’t heard anything about it before. Here’s the answer we got from the Science and Technology Office at DHS. It’s posted in the comments section on the Washington Times blog:

By: S&Tspokesman
Shocking, but False

Sometimes it just amazes me how these stories evolve. Let me start off by saying that the Department of Homeland Security’s Science & Technology Directorate nor TSA have been pursuing shock bracelets for airline passengers as alleged by the Washington Times Blog.

This allegation stemmed from a misleading video posted on the Lamberd Website which depicts an ID bracelet that would contain identifying information as well as the ability to stun the wearer. The company claims to connect use of such a device to DHS and TSA, but no discussions between these agencies has ever taken place.

This all originated from a meeting held two years ago with a private company representative (not Lamberd) who proposed bracelet technology in response to the TSA’s desire to find less-than-lethal means to detain an apprehended suspect.

The bracelet was never intended to replace boarding passes, contain ID information or be worn by all passengers as asserted in the Lamberd video and discussed in the Washington Times Blog.

The hypothetical use of the bracelet would have been for transporting already apprehended prisoners and detainees at prisons and border patrol facilities, and DHS was looking to see if there were potential air travel applications for apprehended suspects.

This concept was never funded or supported by the DHS or TSA and hasn’t even been discussed for two years. The letter circulating throughout the blogosphere from Paul Ruwaldt was not addressed to Lamberd and merely states the DHS was interested in learning more about the technology. Neither side followed up.

DHS/TSA does NOT support the asserted use and has not pursued the development of such technology.

Well, I hope not. It seems more than a little weird. But still, there’s this line in the text of the DHS letter to Lamperd:

In addition, it is conceivable to envision a use to improve air security, on passenger planes.

That is, “in addition” to controlling detainees/deportees, a use might be envisioned on passenger planes.

You can see where a line like that would raise some questions.


{Post by See-Dubya}

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