the skin of thousands of offenders as part of an expansion of the
electronic tagging scheme that would create more space in British
Amid concerns about the security of existing tagging systems and
prison overcrowding, the Ministry of Justice is investigating the use
of satellite and radio-wave technology to monitor criminals.
But, instead of being contained in bracelets worn around the ankle,
the tiny chips would be surgically inserted under the skin of
offenders in the community, to help enforce home curfews. The radio
frequency identification (RFID) tags, as long as two grains of rice,
are able to carry scanable personal information about individuals,
including their identities, address and offending record.
The tags, labelled "spychips" by privacy campaigners, are already used
around the world to keep track of dogs, cats, cattle and airport
luggage, but there is no record of the technology being used to
monitor offenders in the community. The chips are also being
considered as a method of helping to keep order within prisons.
A senior Ministry of Justice official last night confirmed that the
department hoped to go even further, by extending the geographical
range of the internal chips through a link-up with satellite-tracking
similar to the system used to trace stolen vehicles. "All the options
are on the table, and this is one we would like to pursue," the source
added. ... "