Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Christchurch's war on the young

The NZ Council for Civil Liberties this morning pointed me at an article in The Press about the Christchurch City Council using a sonic weapon to discourage young people from using one of its libraries:

A mysterious high-pitched sound is being used to deter youths from fighting at a Christchurch library.

The sound, only detectable by young ears, can be heard by the doors and in the foyer of Christchurch's Papanui library.

Christchurch City Council acting head of libraries Erica Rankin said the sound was beamed from a $1350 "mosquito device".

"The mosquito device emits a noise that is undetectable by adults and proves uncomfortable to youth if they spend any length of time in close proximity. The alarm is on all the time."

TechLiberty's Thomas beagle has submitted a LGOIMA request via FYI seeking further information, and the answers will be fascinating. Because its pretty obvious to even a cursory examination that the use of such devices to discourage young people from accessing public places or facilities or using certain goods or services constitutes discrimination on the basis of age, which is unlawful under the Human Rights Act. I am not aware of anyone having legally challenged the Mosquito yet, but hopefully it will happen soon, and then we can end the Christchurch City Council's war on the young.