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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

“A Small Inconvenience to Ensure Their Safe Arrival”

posted by on July 16 at 16:54 PM

Nothing would make me feel more secure when I fly than wearing a remotely-activated taser bracelet from check-in to landing. And, lookee here, that’s exactly what an official at the Department of Homeland Security is considering. According to the Washington Times, the Electro-Muscular Disruption bracelet worn by airline passengers 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 minutes;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….

According to [a] 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.”

Shocking, yes, but as the promotional video by Lamperd Less Lethal, Inc. explains, it’s “a small inconvenience to ensure their safe arrival.”

Enjoy the flight!

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Jesus effing christ! A couple of accidental heart-stopping electrocutions ought to be just the thing to save the ailing airlines.
But, whatever it takes for the Homeland.

Posted by Marko Constans | July 16, 2008 4:58 PM

They really are trying to cure all of us of the desire to ever fly on an airplane again, aren't they?

Posted by flamingbanjo | July 16, 2008 5:01 PM

"I SAID, what until the aircraft is at a stop and the fasten seatbelt sign is turned OFF to retrieve item from the overhead bins!"


Posted by Dougsf | July 16, 2008 5:04 PM

When this passes beyond the 'letter from some guy' stage, let me know.

Posted by Giffy | July 16, 2008 5:06 PM

Here is the actual letter if anyone is interested. Notice the lack of reference to strapping one to every passenger.

Posted by Giffy | July 16, 2008 5:08 PM

It'd take, what, a week max? before a non-DHS official has a copy of the controller.

This'll be awesome!

Posted by Cow | July 16, 2008 5:10 PM

I've said it before, I'll say it again: "Running Man" is our future.

Posted by Big Sven | July 16, 2008 5:11 PM

Two ways to defeat an EMD "safety bracelet":

1) Stuff a piece of cloth (or other non-conductive material) between your wrist and the device, insulating you from the signal.

2) Stuff a piece of metal (or other conductive material) between your wrist and the device, touching both contacts and thereby shorting it out.

Safe flying!

Posted by Jeremy | July 16, 2008 5:13 PM

Giffy, it's true that the DHS is only considering it now, but it's pretty clear by watching the video, what this company is pushing: Taser bracelets for commercial passengers. And, according to the letter, DHS is considering it for passenger flights.

Posted by Dominic Holden | July 16, 2008 5:14 PM

What's to prevent someone from simply removing the bracelet and leaving it in the seat pocket?

Posted by Frequent Flyer | July 16, 2008 5:15 PM

Two more ways to defeat an EMD "safety bracelet":

3) Wiggle it off your wrist. (Like it's going to be perfectly sized for you? Come on.)

4) Just fucking rip it off your goddamn wrist.

Posted by Jeremy | July 16, 2008 5:15 PM

It's official, we really have become the USSR.

Posted by Will in Soviet Ruled Red Seattle | July 16, 2008 5:17 PM

That's better than anything I could have ever made up. Ever.

Posted by kentankerous | July 16, 2008 5:19 PM

The United States has nuked the fridge.

Posted by laterite | July 16, 2008 5:19 PM

Standard on Poe Air.

Posted by Jubilation T. Cornball | July 16, 2008 5:21 PM

1) Why are you reposting from the wingnut Washington Times?
2) That letter was from like two years ago
3) The letter states that "We see the potential uses to include prisoner transportation, detainee control and the military security forces might have some interest. In addition, it is conceivable to envision a use to improve air security, on passenger planes." If the author of that Times blog post instantly makes the leap to TSA slapping these on your wrist when you fly, then he probably also hears the black helicopters over his house at night.
4) The author is a "Project/Program Lead" in the "Science and Technology Directorate" at DHS. He is a mid-level bureaucrat. I doubt he has the authority to start popping these things on the wrists of passengers.
5) This has nothing to do with the Stranger, but the original letter is very poorly written and contains numerous grammatical errors, which just irks me.
6) What @4 said.

Posted by rb | July 16, 2008 5:23 PM

Uh, gross.

And you'd like to think it won't happen, but if recent history tells us anything, it's that the U.S. has a hair trigger for this paranoid bullshit.

Hell, some folks flew planes in to 3 buildings a few years back, and that resulted in the PATRIOT Act, Guantanamo Bay, various other successful attempts to shred the Constitution, and 2 (potentially 3) wars. Electroshock bracelets on commercial airplanes isn't far-fetched at all.

Posted by Hernandez | July 16, 2008 5:34 PM

This thread was over at comment 1. The liability here is awe-inspiring; by the third death (which ought to come sometime in the first day of operation) this program will be rescinded. There are a LOT of weak, old, and/or sick people flying.

Posted by Fnarf | July 16, 2008 5:44 PM

Well, there's a new fetish waiting to be born. How many guys will behave badly just to have the hot flight attendant shock them into submission?

Posted by DJSauvage | July 16, 2008 5:45 PM

Poe Air would have electro-shock cockrings, JTC.

Which'd probably interfere all of Mr. Poe's gentlemen-friends' pace-makers.

Posted by NapoleonXIV | July 16, 2008 6:36 PM

I wasted a tedious 5.5 minutes on that poorly produced corporate promo hack job. From it I surmise that "many if not most" Canadians are even more eager to give up their civil liberties than we poor saps in the States.

Posted by emma's bee | July 16, 2008 6:46 PM

Airlines hate spending money on security. The cost alone will keep this from being implemented.

Posted by keshmeshi | July 16, 2008 6:47 PM

@16, why just prisons and the military? Employers could use this to limit bathroom breaks and chit chat.

Fnarf @ 18, everything you say makes sense, so I expect all of the asthmatics dying of pepper spray and folks with weak hearts dying of tasering will get the police's attention and make them reconsider their policies, uh, they're not. We're all supposed to be grateful for not being plugged with 9mm rounds.

As for cost, I fear the same thing as the police tricycle yesterday -- that it costs more than a better solution is not a bug, it's a feature. Lobbyists & manuf's don't care about value for dollar, that's the elected representative's job, to be done poorly while being pummeled with sacks of cash by lobbyists.

That is to say, it's 2008 and we STILL don't have Israeli-style armored doors on our planes' cockpits? Bah. Too simple. Too low tech. Not invented here. Too cheap. Let's make a gizmo!

Posted by CP | July 16, 2008 7:37 PM

This is double-plus ungood.

Posted by Mike | July 16, 2008 7:52 PM

This is either a hoax or a Simpson's episode.

Posted by yucca flower | July 16, 2008 8:46 PM

This'd be awesome fun at my next party.

Posted by Reverse Polarity | July 16, 2008 9:05 PM

@9, no some guy said it might have application on passenger flights. That could mean anything form when passenger aircraft are used to transport potentially dangerous people, to tagging the whole lot of us.

Here's the thing though. Its never going to happen. Paranoid fantasies notwithstanding, people will never accept having to wear such a device. Now detainees, prisoners, etc, maybe, but everybody, not going to happen.

Posted by Giffy | July 16, 2008 9:56 PM

Actually, I kind of like the idea. These should be mandatory for any passenger under the age of 11.

Posted by COMTE | July 16, 2008 10:40 PM

...and everyone thinks I'm so weird for taking Amtrak.

Posted by catalina Vel-DuRay | July 16, 2008 11:03 PM
Posted by Phil M | July 16, 2008 11:42 PM

Take a boat!

Posted by Jen | July 17, 2008 3:29 AM

twist it around and use it on someone else! lol! ZAP ZAP! so much fun!

Posted by Bushies Butt Buddy | July 17, 2008 6:25 AM

I have a legitimate question here: how will the trigger devices used by aircraft personnel be able to successfully single out that single person to administer the shock exactly?

From the video it seemed like the transmitter simply sends out a radio signal that causes the bracelet to arm- but what is stopping it from arming every other bracelet on the plane? How can the arming device know which person to single out and shock during a time of necessary split-second decision making? Will they need to punch in a code? How will the stewardess or other personnel know that number in the heat of the moment?

This simply seems like a half-baked idea bordering on a Police State. It doesn't appear like it would solve anything. Also: what is to keep a passenger from removing the device during flight? What if a child accidentally tries to remove it if there are repercussions to doing so?

Once again: the way the device is armed seems to be just a broad signal- which in such small quarters as a plane would probably trigger everyone's band. How is this anything but the dumbest idea I have ever heard?

Posted by Johnny Liverwerst | July 17, 2008 7:08 AM

Pretty much, #33. Suppose that an air marshal has just tackled a guy, and then the stewardess triggers both their bracelets (as well as those of the poor saps in the seats on either side). I'm sure that would go over really well.

Posted by Greg | July 17, 2008 7:19 AM

The nice thing about this is that it's virtually guaranteed that somebody will end up getting zapped who didn't deserve zapping. That zap is pretty unlikely to actually KILL said person. And then said person can sue the airline, the specific crew member who accidentally zapped them, the maker of the bracelets, and anybody else they can think of for gazillions of dollars and then retire.

I hope they start handing these out ASAP! I can't wait to accidentally get tasered and then retire!

Also, @5, I don't see how they could NOT require all passengers to wear them. They can't exactly select specific people to put them on, unless they want to be accused of racial profiling or discrimination. And doing it "randomly" wouldn't make any sense either.

Posted by Jane | July 17, 2008 9:34 AM

Still sounds better than the last Southwest flight I was on...

Posted by Middle Seat | July 17, 2008 9:50 AM

@30: thanks for the clarification. All of you post-@30: please read @30.

Posted by Will in 98103 | July 17, 2008 11:01 AM

@37 -- Yeah, seriously. I mean, if you can't trust a representative from the Department of Homeland Security, who CAN you trust??

Posted by Jane | July 17, 2008 11:42 AM

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