Sábado, 23 de Junho de 2007

Microchip, SIM ou NÂO?!

Jamie Wilson
Tuesday September 3, 2002


Girl to get tracker implant to ease parents' fears

The parents of an 11-year-old girl are to take the extraordinary step of having her fitted with a microchip so that her movements can be traced if she is abducted.

Danielle Duval will have the device implanted in her arm in the next few months, the scientist assisting the plan claimed yesterday. The miniature chip will apparently send a signal via a mobile phone network to a computer, which will be able to pinpoint her location on an electronic map.

The parents, Wendy and Paul Duval from Reading in Berkshire, said they had decided on the step after the abduction and murder of the schoolgirls Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman.

"After the news of Holly and Jessica , we sat down as a family and discussed what we could do," Mrs Duval said. "Like us, Danielle needs to feel that she's safe at all times and could be located in a real emergency. I know nothing is ever 100% or foolproof, but we believe the microchip will go a long way towards protecting her."

Mrs Duval did not accept that the family were panicking or overreacting, saying it was only sensible for a parent to use technology when it was available. "If a car is stolen, it can be fitted with a computer to enable it to be tracked - so why not apply the same principle to finding missing children?" she said.

Yesterday several children's charities said they were unsure about the implant.

A spokesman for Kidscape, the charity aimed at stopping children from being bullied and sexually abused, said: "We do not think this is a good idea. Children should be taught about the possible dangers, rather than having something stuck on them that can maybe track them, and perhaps then only when it is too late."

A spokesman for the NSPCC said: "Parents and guardians must remember child abductions are extremely rare, and that the vast majority of abuse happens within the home."

The designer of the chip, Kevin Warwick of the cybernetics department at Reading University, conceded that some parents might abuse the system or overreact if their children were late home, but maintained that tagging was the correct course of action in the light of recent events.

He said: "The implant won't prevent abductions: nothing will.

"However, if the worst happens, parents will at least be in with a chance of finding their children alive."

He has called for an urgent government debate on the issue, and believes ministers should consider implants for all children.

Professor Warwick said there were a few technological problems to be ironed out, including exactly how to recharge the chip's battery, but he expected Danielle to be fitted with the device, under local anaesthetic by a doctor, in the next few months. "Her parents want me to proceed as quickly as possible, and I wouldn't waste their time if I thought it wasn't capable of working," he said.

Among the technical questions to be addressed is whether the chip should remain dormant in the limb until an emergency arose, or whether it should emit a signal 24 hours a day.

"This is why we need the debate to take place," he said. "In future it may be that only the police have the authority to allow the system to be activated. But, as things stand, parents can have that right themselves."

Danielle, who met the professor with her parents last week, said she had no concerns about being fitted with the chip. "I will feel so much safer knowing that mum and dad could find me in an emergency. The professor said the chip won't hurt, so that's OK."

Mrs Duval, 33, a school catering controller, and her husband, Paul, 34, a driving instructor, want their other daughter, Amy, seven, to undergo the treatment.

"We'll wait until Amy's a bit older, so that she fully understands what's happening," they said.

 

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publicado por arco íris às 01:50

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