It seems that there's been insufficient progress in turning the public's flying experience into the fifth deepest pit in hell. We all know that the TSA is working hard -- you know, forcing women to remove nipple rings with pliers, breaking laptop computers and threatening anyone who complains, detaining and searching 5-year-olds, deliberately contaminating sterile medical equipment, pointing guns at deaf people, detaining babies until they die, all those wonderful things. But it's clearly not enough -- because none of it is capable of deliberately inflicting severe physical pain on ALL the passengers.
At least one solution to the TSA's plight is now within reach. I give you United States Patent: 6,933,851. It reads in part:
A method of providing air travel security for passengers traveling via
an aircraft comprises situating a remotely activatable electric shock
device on each of the passengers in position to deliver a disabling
electrical shock when activated; and arming the electric shock devices
for subsequent selective activation by a selectively operable remote
control disposed within the aircraft.
Translation: handcuff the passengers to the business end of a taser, give the flight crew a remote control.
Maybe this would be a good time for a nice, soothing cup of tea or perhaps a belt of scotch, or maybe some rhythmic chanting while you find your inner happy place. Or you can just skip all that and get just as pissed off as I am, when I tell you that the DHS is talking to the vendor about actually buying and using these devices.
I'll pause while you try to wrap your head around the realization that yes, someone (actually, multiple someones: Hahne; Per K. (Oakville, ON, CA), Wark; Ray (Halton Hills, ONT, CA)) thought this up and applied for a patent for it...which means they think it was worth patenting... which means they think there may be a market for it...and as it turns out, they may well be right: your government wants to spend your money to buy these to use on...you.
The people who think it's a really good idea to make a device to torture airline passengers (or anyone else, for that matter) are:
(Hmmm...what does that logo remind me of? I can't quite come up with it, but there's something familiar about it.)
Some business information on them is here:
Their most recent SEC filings are here:
Google finance has considerable information on them here:
Business Week lists their executives here:
Meet the president/CEO:
Barry Lamperd Lamperd Less Lethal 1200 Michener Road, Sarnia, ON, Canada N7T 7H8 +1 (519) 344-4445 firstname.lastname@example.org
Over at Prison Planet, there's a must-read writeup on this: Torture Bracelet To Control Dissenting Americans? which does into more detail and explains how this could be used for a lot more than just torturing airline passengers. They've also got a pointer to the YouTube video promoting this "product", if I can dignify this monstrosity with that term. As Prison Planet explains:
Introduced ostensibly to combat airline terrorism, a creepy promo video
courtesy of the patent holders Lamperd FTS exploits shocking 9/11 imagery
to push the torture device as a solution to countering potential hijackers
by inflicting "Electro-Muscular Disruption" and presumably giving the
rest of the passengers a debilitating shock at the same time.
Letters exchanged between the company and DHS official Paul S. Ruwaldt
show Homeland Security's intention to utilize the device for border
control and, "indeed for anywhere else for which the temporarily restraint
of large numbers of individuals in open area environments by a small
number of agents or Law Enforcement Officers".
The letters confirm that funding is being sought for the widespread
deployment of the device and that several state and local authorities
have expressed an interest, as well as the DOD, the CDC, Department of
Interior, Department of Agriculture Forestry service as well as unnamed
law enforcement agencies.
I'll get to those letters momentarily.
There's also an excellent discussion of this torture device in one of Bruce Schneier's blog entries: Wacky Airplane Security Idea, which includes these comments:
That's a great idea--if you are hijacker. Just hack into the system and
you won't have to worry about passengers attacking you.
Useless idea. Any conductive foil will short the contacts and actually disable this bracelet.
I wonder what would happen if you took it off and wrapped it around a
leg of the seat you're in? If you exposed some wire in your headphones
and attached it to the wristband, piping the voltage into that system?
Or if you dropped it into the toilet?
Perfect tool for terrorists; upon boarding an aircraft, everyone is given
a high-voltage power supply sufficient for detonating a binary explosive.
I recommend reading all of them -- many of them are quite insightful. (My idea: what would happen if this electric shock was re-routed to the plane's avionics?)
Now about the the letters from DHS: Lamperd has proudly posted PDFs of some of this correspondence on their web site:
Here's what's in that last PDF:
As mentioned, most of the organizing for this program/project will happen within the next month, so I hope budgets will be set shortly thereafter, and then I will have a better idea on what we can do. I believe, once the extent of the funding is known and the budgets allocated, funding for the bracelet concept with the localized emitter/interrogator/restraint stations, will happen.
As part of this budgetary process, could you please provide me with a rough order of magnitude (ROM) estimates [sic] for the development of the system you described? In addition, assuming you were funded, could you please provide me an expected time frame/milestones as to when a prototype of such a system would be available for testing?
To make it clear, we are interested in the mobile read/write emitter concept in conjunction with the immobilizing security bracelet, and look forward to receiving a written proposal.
I look forward to your reply.
Paul S. Ruwaldt
Department of Homeland Security
Science and Technology Directorate,
Office of Research and Development,
William J. Hughes Technical Center
Atlantic City International Airport, NJ 08405
Telephone #: 609-813-2725
Doesn't it just fill your heart with pride in being an American to know that one of your employees is excited at the prospect of getting his hands on a prototype for a brand-new torture device, so that the TSA can use it on you, your children, your parents, and everyone else?