Wouldn't it be nice if RFID could curb crime?
An article appearing in today's The Independent describes how the U.K. government is considering embedding grain-size RFID chips under the skin of convicted felons. The chips are being considered as a method of helping to keep order within prisons, as well as electronically monitor those who are released and required to stay at home up to 12 hours daily.
Before you find compassion for the poor schmucks who might have to involuntarily have a RFID chip from VeriChip embedded under their skin, remember we're talking about convicted thieves and pedophiles.
The article reads:
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. The crisis meant the number of prisoners held in police cells rose 13-fold last year, with police stations housing offenders more than 60,000 times in 2007, up from 4,617 the previous year. The UK has the highest prison population per capita in western Europe, and the Government is planning for an extra 20,000 places at a cost of £3.8bn " including three gigantic new "superjails" " in the next six years.
A multimillion-pound pilot of satellite monitoring of offenders was shelved last year after a report revealed many criminals simply ditched the ankle tag and separate portable tracking unit issued to them. The "prison without bars" project also failed to track offenders when they were in the shadow of tall buildings.
The Independent on Sunday has now established that ministers have been assessing the merits of cutting-edge technology that would make it virtually impossible for individuals to remove their electronic tags.
The tags, injected into the back of the arm with a hypodermic needle, consist of a toughened glass capsule holding a computer chip, a copper antenna and a "capacitor" that transmits data stored on the chip when prompted by an electromagnetic reader.
But details of the dramatic option for tightening controls over Britain's criminals provoked an angry response from probation officers and civil-rights groups. Shami Chakrabarti, director of Liberty, said: "If the Home Office doesn't understand why implanting a chip in someone is worse than an ankle bracelet, they don't need a human-rights lawyer; they need a common-sense bypass.
"Degrading offenders in this way will do nothing for their rehabilitation and nothing for our safety, as some will inevitably find a way round this new technology."
Wouldn't it be wonderful if all we had to do to detour felons from committing a crime was threaten to embed a RFID chip in their arm?