Telegraph - Safety fear swats store's Mosquito / by Dan Lockton

From today's Daily Telegraph: 'Safety fear swats store's Mosquito'.

"A supermarket has been ordered to switch off a device aimed at combating anti-social behaviour because of concerns about human rights and health and safety... The Spar store in Newport, Gwent, said it had experienced an 84 per cent reduction in police call-outs since it became one of the first premises to have a Mosquito installed three months ago.

But it has been told to switch it off by the Newport community safety partnership.

Newport council said last night that a number of legal issues had to be resolved."

More on the Mosquito, with comments, here.

I note that another Telegraph story on the Mosquito, from last month, lists Staffordshire Police and Rochdale Council as two publicly funded bodies which have started using the devices - thus, along with skateboarding deterrents, we really do have public money being spent on devices designed to cause injury, damage or discomfort to certain parts of the population. I don't think I like that.

From the earlier Telegraph story also:

"Mr Stapleton said, 'I even had a headmaster who wants to connect them to smoke detectors in his school toilets to stop the pupils smoking.'"

This is an interesting variation as an 'architectures of control' design example: the use of smoke alarms (whether 16kHz or normal-pitched) specifically to prevent people smoking in certain areas. How commonly is this done?

It's a similar approach to the use of blue lighting in nightclub and hospital toilets to make it more difficult for intravenous drug use to occur (veins no longer show up so well under the light). Given the danger of thus sticking the needle in the wrong place, taking it out, trying again, and so on, I think it's fair to classify this as an architecture of control that can endanger life.