The Malaysian government claims that using electronic monitoring devices on suspected “terrorists” has played a major role in de-radicalizing nearly 300 of those put through an intensive program that includes placing them on an ankle shackle.
Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the use of electronic monitoring devices (EMDs) has contributed to the program’s success rate of 97.5 per cent. “Through the EMDs, we can monitor if they meet up with their old friends or if they travel beyond a certain permissible area,” Mr Zahid told the Malaysian media.
This use of electronic monitoring raises a wide range of surveillance, privacy and freedom of speech issues. Already in the US we have seen political prisoners like Chicago Greenpeace activists being released on EM. No doubt they are being intensively tracked. Who else will be targeted and what enhanced capacity will be used for this tracking in the future? We need to be aware of the potential implications of electronic surveillance as the technology advances along with the political pressure to control dissenters and resistance fighters.