April 6, 2013
GPS Bracelet Could Help Protect Civil Rights And Rescue Workers
redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online
A Swedish civil liberties group has developed a new bracelet that uses GPS technology to help keep track of rescue personnel and human rights workers — and ideally keep them safe from potential threats.
The device was inspired by the 2009 kidnapping and murder of Chechen civil rights worker Natalia Estemirova, and when the individual wearing the bracelet is attacked or abducted, it transmits an alert to other members of what has been dubbed “The Natalia Project” in honor of Estermirova.
“The bracelet has been developed and tested to make sure it works with ease — even in the most demanding situations. When a distress signal is sent out, Civil Right Defenders will validate the signal, take appropriate action and keep you updated on the situation as it unfolds,” the group said in a statement.
According to BBC News, the bracelets contain mobile phone technology and can send pre-written messages when activated. It can be triggered manually if an aid worker feels he or she is in danger, or will go off automatically if the device is forcibly removed.
The bracelet transmits information about its owner and the location where he/she was attacked, and can also post messages to Facebook and Twitter to “rally support” when an incident occurs, the British news agency added. It also notifies other aid workers nearby so they can mobilize and help those in peril.
“Civil Rights Defenders wants people to sign up to monitor the bracelets of individual rights workers via social media. It hopes the global involvement will act as a deterrent to anyone planning attacks on aid workers,” BBC News said, adding that those who monitor the bracelets could also “help bring pressure to bear on governments to find or release people abducted or jailed.”
“Most of us, given the chance, would like to help others in danger. These civil rights defenders are risking their lives for others to have the right to vote, or to practice religion or free speech,” the organization´s executive director Robert Hardh added. Civil Rights Defenders hope to distribute 55 of the bracelets by the end of 2014.