A More Efficient Torture?

Image from patentbolt.com

One for the “Technology Outpaces Our Humanity” files: Patent Bolt is reporting on a new pair of handcuffs that not only restrain, but shock or deliver drugs or irritants. Basically, they’re taser cuffs.

Oh joy. I bet that will never be abused.

Read and wonder:

While the new system focuses on handcuffs, the inventors clarified that the new system could equally apply to ankle cuffs, straightjackets, neck collars, helmets and even facial restraints such as the one used in the film Hannibal. The next generation handcuffs will be super high tech with built-in sensors such as accelerometers, potentiometer, inclinometer, biometric sensors, camera sensors and more. But the kicker to this invention is that these future handcuffs will be able to combine standard restraining mechanisms alongside those that could deliver a powerful electric shock to detainees and/or administer medications to sedate or irritate them.

The use of tasers is getting out of hand, and remote control or automatic taser cuffs will just send it spiraling right off a cliff. Try to remember: torture is an objective evil, meaning it can never be licit. Tasers and other non-lethal techniques are in fact quite humane in some circumstances, and save lives for both law enforcement and civilians.

But progress never comes free, and the trade off is that overzealous, frightened, or just plain sadistic police are more ready to deal out extreme pain under the guise of non-lethality. Sure, they may well help with restraining violent prisoners. So would attaching electrodes directly to their genitals. I’m just curious: where do we draw that line?

I’m not saying that I know, I’m really asking: where are the limits, and how do we know we we reach them?

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Thomas L. McDonald writes about technology, theology, history, games, and shiny things. Details of his rather uneventful life as a professional writer and magazine editor can be found in the About tab.