DHS official gets death threats over shock bracelet letter

Perhaps the webmaster at Lamperd Less Lethal needs an electric shock.

The Sarnia, Ont.., based defense company told the Washington Times last week that it had removed from its Web site a letter from a Department of Homeland Security official who the department claimed was receiving death threats.

The 2006 letter, from Paul S. Ruwaldt of the DHS Science and Technology Directorate, requested information on a “Security Bracelet” which could be used for “restraint of large numbers of individuals” in “prisoner transportation, detainee control and . . . it is conceivable to envision a use to improve air security, on passenger planes.”

The letter, accompanying a video on the company’s web site which shows a theoretical use in which every airline passenger would be forced to wear a bracelet capable of delivering a powerful electric shock, received national attention a month ago after being posted on a Washington Times blog.

Many on both sides of the political fence who heard of the story were outraged at the idea of strapping an electric shock device to airline passengers. The company’s EMD Security Bracelet is capable of storing personal information about a passenger, matching each passenger to his or her luggage, tracking passengers as they move through an airport or other large area, and delivering an electro-muscular disruption to individual bracelets on command. The electric shock, more powerful than a standard Taser, is capable of immobilizing a person for several minutes.

Although DHS spokesman John Verrico said that the department was not considering using the bracelet for airline passengers, the attention resulted in Ruwaldt receiving threatening phone calls at home, and the company receiving hate mail, according to Lamperd Less Lethal CEO Barry Lamperd.

“We decided we certainly didn’t want him to get more threats, so we took [the letter] off,” Lamperd told the Times.

Yet the letter remains on the company’s Web site as of this afternoon. It appears the company removed some links to the letter, but not the letter itself. (See for yourself: Page 1, Page 2) Despite being notified a week ago that the letter was still online, the company has not actually removed the letter and it remains available for download.

Removing the links which point to a document on the Internet doesn’t actually remove the document; it can still be accessed by anyone who knows the Web address or through any links from third-party sites and search engines. Biofilm, Inc., manufacturer of Astroglide personal lubrication products, learned this lesson the hard way last year when it leaked 260,000 customer records by publishing the records on its Web site and then blaming the search engines for doing what they naturally do.

No word on whether the bracelet will be used for the other suggested purposes of detaining illegal immigrants and transporting prisoners.

One thought on “DHS official gets death threats over shock bracelet letter

  • September 27, 2008 at 7:59 pm

    My entire life (I’m now in my late 40’s) I’ve believed that one day as an old person I would be a successful part of covert operations riding my bike from place to place undetected. Does that sound crazy? Not anymore. Sounds like it’s about time to get-r-done. Not giving up my guns, my freedom or my bike! and I’m certainly not putting on a torcher device just to ride a plane.

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