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Published on January 29th, 2008 | by Christian Cawley

Surveillance State of Decay

Under the skin tracking devices are here – and at the moment it appears that they are here to stay, regardless of our fears. And they’ve shown up in the Whoniverse… is Torchwood being used to condition us?

One of the of the country’s highest ranked policemen, Chief Constable Ken Jones, has suggested a sci fi fix for keeping sex offenders under surveillance. Is embedding tracking devices embedded under their skin morally right though?

The principle of it was seen only last week in the Dr Who spin-off Torchwood when a character had one put under her skin to gather information and keep track of her. Film buffs will remember The Manchurian Candidate in which characters are controlled by “bugs” implanted in the neck.

Although the above reference to Torchwood is only a very loose interpretation, the technology exists now. However as with the various cases of high-level data loss by government departments, we need to ask ourselves: are we mature enough as a society to handle the solutions afforded to us by technology?

The answer can only be “no”. Sex offenders – however abhorrent – have rights that cannot be be denied, and on of those is their freedom of movement when living in society.

We should all be horrified at the suggestion of tracking humans with intravenous implants. If we go back to the matter of sex offenders – chemical castration can be used to negate their threat. So why isn’t this being offered as a legitimate solution?

Chemical castration is by no means more attractive to anyone that believes in human rights – however it is one that doesn’t open the doors to a big brother dominion over the populace.

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About the Author

A long-term Doctor Who fan, Christian grew up watching the show and has early memories of the Graham Williams era. His favourite stories are Inferno, The Seeds of Doom and Human Nature (although The Empty Child, Blink and Utopia all come close). When he’s not bossing around the news team, Christian is a freelance writer specialising in mobile technology and domestic computing, and enjoys classic rock, cooking and spending time in the countryside with his wife and young children. You can find him on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.




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