Nov 092010
 
 November 9, 2010  Non-U.S., Surveillance, Youth & Schools

Laure Belot reports:

A French company, Lyberta, has just dropped plans to fit children in several nurseries in Paris with electronic tags, after a newspaper revealed the scheme. Trade unions, councils and civil liberties groups were indignant at the invasion of privacy. But the response to the idea in online forums was much more divided: “I have been longing for this ever since my first child was born,” a woman wrote. “My three-year-old daughter walked out of her infant school and the teachers found her in the next street … I would rather put a tag on my child than sign up for a kidnap warning scheme.”

[…]

“Portugal and Brazil have even passed laws to make individual security devices compulsory in maternity hospitals, to combat kidnapping and swaps,” Levasseur says. In 2009, some 300,000 infants were tagged around the world.

In France, 50,000 babies were tagged in 2009. “About 30 hospitals use our wristbands, but the subject is still something of a taboo,” Levasseur says. “Last year there were two attempted kidnappings in French maternity units, with one in our area,” says Philippe Cruette, deputy head of the Bordeaux-Nord clinic. “We were keen to respond to the concerns of mothers who had heard about these in the media.” RFID wristbands have been available since January. Cruette adds: “Roughly half the mothers ask for a tag, mainly young women having their first baby.”

Read more in the Guardian.

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