Welcome aboard your flight. You will now be electrocuted.

Apparently, some senior officials in the US Department of Homeland Security have expressed interest in an electronic bracelet for all airline travellers. It seems pretty handy- it contains your boarding pass and your personal info all in a handy piece of disposable jewelry. Oh, and it also contains a tiny taser that, when activited, completely immobilizing the wearer. Yes, if the security wonks get their way, we may all soon be wearing tiny shock collars. You can read the letter where Paul S. Ruwaldt of the Science and Technology Directorate, office of Research and Development for Homeland Security expresses interest in the shock bracelet here. And if video is your thing, you can watch a little promo for the pain bracelet.

I respond thus: What the Hell? Sure, one can think of a dozen ways where a shock bracelet would be useful in a hijacking situation. But what price security? I would never knowningly equip myself with a mini-torture device and give someone else the ability to shock me at will. What guarantee do I have they will exercise their power appropriately? Will I get shocked if I ask for extra peanuts? Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

Ridiculous. In response to the article on the WaPo, Lampard Less Lethal, Inc., the CANADIAN company that designed the bracelet, posted this little gem:

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.

Super! So our choices are being electrocuted or being shot down. Gotta love this brave new world. Thanks to AB for the link.