By Jeffrey Denning
July 2, 1008
Washington Post, Aviation Security
Just when you thought you’ve heard it all…
A senior government official with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security
(DHS) has expressed great interest in a so-called safety bracelet that would
serve as a stun device, similar to that of a police Taser®. According to
this promotional video found at the Lamperd Less Lethal, Inc. website, the bracelet
would be worn by all airline passengers (video also shown below).
This bracelet would:
– take the place of an airline boarding pass
– contain personal information about the traveler
– be able to monitor the whereabouts of each passenger and his/her luggage
– shock the wearer on command, completely immobilizing him/her for several
The Electronic ID Bracelet, as it’s referred to, would be worn by every
traveler “until they disembark the flight at their destination.”
Yes, you read that correctly. Every airline passenger would be tracked by a
government-funded GPS, containing personal, private and confidential information,
and would shock the customer worse than an electronic dog collar if the passenger
got out of line.
Clearly the Electronic ID Bracelet is a euphuism for the EMD Safety Bracelet,
or at least it has a nefarious hidden ability (thus the term ID Bracelet is
ambiguous at best). EMD stands for Electro-Musclar Disruption. Again, according
to the promotional video, the bracelet can completely immobilize the wearer
for several minutes.
So is the government really that interested in this bracelet?
According to this
letter from DHS official, Paul S. Ruwaldt of the Science
and Technology Directorate, office of Research and Development, which was written
to the inventor whom he had previously met with, Ruwaldt wrote, “To make
it clear, we [the federal government] are interested in . . . the immobilizing
security bracelet, and look forward to receiving a written proposal.”
The letterhead, in case you were wondering, is from a U.S. Department of Homeland
Security office at the William J. Hughes Technical Center at the Atlantic City
International Airport, or the Federal Aviation Administration headquarters.
In another part of the letter, Mr. Ruwaldt confirmed, “It is conceivable
to envision a use to improve air security, on passenger planes.”
Would every paying airline passenger flying on a commercial airplane be mandated
to wear one of these devices? I cringe at the thought. Not only could it be
used as a physical restraining device, but also as a method of interrogation,
according to the same aforementioned letter from Mr. Ruwaldt.
Would you let them put one of those on your wrist? Would you allow the airline
employees, which would be mandated by the government, to place such a bracelet
on any member of your family?
Why are tax dollars being spent on something like this?
Is this a police state or is this America?
UPDATE: Lamperd Less Lethal Inc., the Canadian company that
designed the EMD Safety Bracelet, has responded to the controversy as follows:
We wish to clear up any misconceptions regarding the EMD Safety
Bracelet for Airline Security.
The bracelets remain inactive until a hijacking situation has been identified.
At such time a designated crew member will activate the bracelets making them
capable of delivering the punitive measure – but only to those that need to
be restrained. We believe that all passengers will welcome deliverance from
a hijacking, as will the families, carriers, insurance providers etc. The
F-16 on the wing-tip is not to reassure the passengers during a hijacking,
but rather to shoot them down. Besides activation using the grid screen, the
steward / stewardess will have a laser activator that can activate any bracelet
as needed by simply pointing the laser at the bracelet – that laser dot only
needs to be within 10 inches of the bracelet to activate it.