[funsec] DHS official expresses interest in shock bracelets for airplane passengers

John LaCour johnlacour at gmail.com
Wed Jul 9 10:44:28 CDT 2008

Of course it's mostly not true.

This comment was posted to the Washington Times blog which carried this story:

By: S&Tspokesman

Shocking, but False

Sometimes it just amazes me how these stories evolve. Let me start off
by saying that the Department of Homeland Security's Science &
Technology Directorate nor TSA have been pursuing shock bracelets for
airline passengers as alleged by the Washington Times Blog.

This allegation stemmed from a misleading video posted on the Lamberd
Website which depicts an ID bracelet that would contain identifying
information as well as the ability to stun the wearer. The company
claims to connect use of such a device to DHS and TSA, but no
discussions between these agencies has ever taken place.

This all originated from a meeting held two years ago with a private
company representative (not Lamberd) who proposed bracelet technology
in response to the TSA's desire to find less-than-lethal means to
detain an apprehended suspect.

The bracelet was never intended to replace boarding passes, contain ID
information or be worn by all passengers as asserted in the Lamberd
video and discussed in the Washington Times Blog.

The hypothetical use of the bracelet would have been for transporting
already apprehended prisoners and detainees at prisons and border
patrol facilities, and DHS was looking to see if there were potential
air travel applications for apprehended suspects.

This concept was never funded or supported by the DHS or TSA and
hasn't even been discussed for two years. The letter circulating
throughout the blogosphere from Paul Ruwaldt was not addressed to
Lamberd and merely states the DHS was interested in learning more
about the technology. Neither side followed up.

DHS/TSA does NOT support the asserted use and has not pursued the
development of such technology.

On Tue, Jul 8, 2008 at 12:17 PM, Richard M. Smith
<rms at computerbytesman.com> wrote:
> Via Slashdot.  This article seems more appropriate for The Onion:
> http://www.washingtontimes.com/weblogs/aviation-security/2008/Jul/01/want-some-torture-with-your-peanuts/
> By Jeffrey Denning
> 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(R). According to
> this promotional video found at the Lamperd Less Lethal website, the
> bracelet would be worn by all airline passengers.
> 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
> minutes
> The Electronic ID Bracelet, as it's referred to as, 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 that it would shock the customer worse than an electronic
> dog collar if he/she got out of line?
> Clearly the Electronic ID Bracelet is an 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? Yes!
> According to a letter from DHS official, Paul S. Ruwaldt of the Science and
> Technology Directorate, office of Research and Development, to the inventor
> whom he had previously met with, he 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, came from the DHS 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 it America?
> As we approach July 4th, Independence Day, I can't help but think of the
> blessing we have of living in America and being free from hostile government
> forces. It calls to mind on of my favorite speeches given by an American
> Founding Forefather, Patrick Henry, who said,
> "Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of
> chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others
> may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!"
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