Kev Warwick cyberkiddie no closer to activation
15 months on and little Danielle still untagged
Although he's been a bit quiet of late, it's good to see that Kevin "Captain Cyborg" Warwick continues to generate the sort of coverage his ground-breaking work deserves.
The abduction and murder of Soham schoolgirls Jessica Chapman and Holly Wells prompted the visionary boffin to offer the chance to microchip a child, although the plan never came to fruition.
Eleven-year-old Danielle Duval's parent were apparently convinced by Warwick to allow their daughter to be tagged with a chip which would send a signal via her mobile allowing her to be pinpointed on an electronic map.
Fifteen months later and Danielle is still waiting for her abduction-busting device. "We never heard nothing more about it," "says Mrs Duval, who is clearly not fully acquainted with Warwick's bandwagon-jumping initiatives which rarely amount to more than a few column miles.
In fact, the proposal was roundly condemned by children's charities and other organisations, which forced Captain Cyborg to back down.
"I was perceived to be an ogre trying to do nasty things to children. The opposition to it made me think that ethically, this is something not deemed to be appropriate," he laments.
It is particularly sad that such ethics are preventing the good prof from applying his talents to this emotive issue, since every week he "gets someone e-mailing me to ask if I can do something for their child".
Of course, Warwick is not the only person suggesting that tagging of kids is the solution to such terrible threats to their well-being. Various solutions are mooted, including GPS-based systems allowing parents to track their offspring to within a few feet.
RFID may also offer a way forward...or not... if No Tags, the site for "UK consumers against the pervasive use of RFID" is to be believed.
No Tags' Chris McDermott notes that "chip implants would be of little use in tracking a missing child as readers only have a limited range".
McDermott is right, and here's his sobering conclusion about the real prospects of such technology: "Let's face it, all such a chip would do in cases like Soham is allow the police to trace the bodies more quickly. No technology would have saved those girls." ®
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