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[Opinion] GPS Shackles

Posted June. 10, 2006 03:34,   


Global Positioning System (GPS), like the Internet, was developed to serve military demands and began to serve civilian demands in the 1980s. GPS consists of 24 satellites that rotate around the earth twice a day. The GPS receivers obtain information from the satellites and calculate the whereabouts of their users through trilateration. GPS works 24 hours a day in any place globally unaffected by the weather. GPS is most actively applied in the car industry. When the user inputs the destination to the receiver, it calculates the shortest way there and lets the user know the car’s speed, direction, route, the distance covered, and even the distance remaining.

Like the Internet, the usage of GPS is spreading day by day. The law that allows the use of GPS to watch sexual criminals was passed in 23 states in the U.S. The controversy remains regarding human rights, but the society-protective reasoning that the system would protect children from sexual criminals is gaining much support from the public. Sexual criminals tend to repeat their crimes. Experts say that unless the sexual perversion of repeated sexual criminals is perfectly cured, the possibility of their possession of rational self-control is low.

There are opinions that the criminals should be sentenced to long terms in prison to be isolated from society. But long-term detention for sexual criminals will limitlessly increase the costs of correction. The GPS receivers in effect solve such worries. The whereabouts of the repeated sexual criminals who are released on probation, on parole or on the expiration of prison terms can be detected with two second intervals. The daily management cost is only $10, incomparable to the cost of building and managing new prisons and paying the prison officers.

Some argue that the system of GPS shackles will not be effective in Korea because the rate of reporting sexual crimes in Korea is as low as 6.1 percent. Nonetheless, in the U.S., this system is making great contributions to the prevention of sexual crimes. In some countries, people argue that sexual criminals should not only be grounded but should also be chemically castrated. Compared to these means, the notion of GPS shackles is much less controversial in terms of human rights considerations. To think that the GPS satellites are watching them day and night will surely make the sexual criminals shrink from criminal impulses.

Hwang Ho-taek, Editorial Writer, hthwang@donga.com