The Tracking and Monitoring of Criminals from Space Today, What Next Tomorrow?

In the United States, a criminal released from prison on parole or sentenced to house arrest may have to wear a monitor usually referred to as an ‘ankle bracelet’ as a way to keep a tab on their whereabouts. The monitor sends off a radio frequency that delivers the location and other details to a receiver. If someone wearing the monitor travels outside of their allowed range, the police are alerted. Criminals cannot tamper with or remove the monitor without the proper authorities knowing. However, higher-ups in the United Kingdom have come up with a different plan”¦

To expand upon the concept of the ankle monitor, the United Kingdom has a nationwide program in the works with a goal to keep track of criminals deemed dangerous by using satellites in space. The plan is to tag and track the criminals with the use of GPS technology. This method will allow the authorities to know the exact location of offenders that pose a potential threat to the people. The information received on the criminals would be ‘beamed’ down from space to a control center equipped with ‘real time’ tracking. The system is believed to lend a helping hand to probation officers who will be able to monitor their probationers on a 24-hour basis.

In addition to a curfew, the criminals are also expected to obey an ‘excursion zone,’ which authorities will set. If a tagged individual comes too close to this area, an alarm is triggered and the authorities are notified. If the new GPS tags are put into place, authorities don’t have to wait until a criminal disobeys, they would already be tracking their movements and anticipate if they are heading in the wrong direction.

However, a part of this plan that is quite disturbing is just how far such technology can go. Who is put into place to monitor the actions of the authorities in charge to make sure the GPS tagging doesn’t get out of hand? Who is put into place to make sure that GPS tagging stays within the confines of tracking criminals and is not used for monitoring the general public? If such technology gets in the wrong hands or is misused, we’re looking at a serious breach of privacy.

Using satellite tagging on criminals will allow authorities to feel more in control of the monitoring of high-risk offenders, and help decrease the amount of crime that may occur. However, as history has shown, these kinds of advancements in technology have a way of morphing into a monster itself. The government will most likely promote the system as a way to keep the public safe, enhance security and allow the police to do their jobs more efficiently. A lot of positive points will be made as the higher-ups wish to gain the acceptance of the overall population.

If the nationwide use of satellite surveillance technology is put into effect in the United Kingdom, thousands of people could have their every move pinpointed from the sky ”“ 24 hours a day. Over time, the government, big business and other powers may start to push to use such methods to tag and track other aspects of life and eventually make a case for everyone to undergo the same treatment.

Doesn’t the thought of total global surveillance hit a raw nerve?