The Home Office and Justice Departments have reportedly discovered a new use for smartwatches: to monitor certain people by letting them submit mugshots up to five times a day.
protector Report(opens in new window) The smartwatch-based monitoring is expected to begin later this year for “immigrants convicted of criminal offences.”
The equipment used as part of the monitoring program will be supplied by a company called Buddi Limited, which website(opens in new window) Thanks to its smartwatch-enabled services, it’s “focused on providing peace of mind by enabling people to live independently in their own homes for longer periods of time”.
Buddi currently offers two devices: a wrist strap that “can automatically detect falls and has a button you can press if you need help” and a clip-on device that “has a built-in speaker and microphone for two-way communication when an alarm is activated. .”
The devices will also constantly track the wearer’s location, according to the Home Office and Justice Departments. protectorit said the UK government wants to store information about people it monitors for up to six years.
It’s not clear from the report whether the UK government wants Buddi to make a smartwatch that can take pictures, or whether images can be taken with a smartphone. It is also unclear how the government will determine who is being tracked using the devices.
Our Editors’ Picks
The Home Office reportedly said the trackers “will be used for convicted foreign criminals, not other groups such as asylum seekers.” However, once the devices are officially deployed, it may not be intentional or unintentional.
protector The UK government is expected to spend around $7.2m (£6m) when the scheme starts, but “the number of devices to be produced and the cost of each smartwatch have been edited in the contract,” the report said. The full range of procedures remains unknown.
Like what are you reading?
register safety observation A newsletter of our top privacy and security stories delivered straight to your inbox.