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PER: Potchefstroomse Elektroniese Regsblad

versión On-line ISSN 1727-3781


MSWELA, MM. Tagging and Tracking of Persons with Albinism: A Reflection of Some Critical Human Rights and Ethical Issues Arising from the Use of the Global Positioning System (GPS) as Part of a Solution to Cracking Down on Violent Crimes Against Persons with Albinism. PER [online]. 2019, vol.22, n.1, pp.1-27. ISSN 1727-3781.

Recent years have seen an increase in the use of the Global Positioning System (GPS) by both private and public entities for the purpose of tracking and monitoring the location of human beings. The GPS tracking application is used as a locating system to monitor, among other people, children, the elderly who suffer from Alzheimer's, and the mentally ill, for personal protection purposes. This electronic monitoring system has also found application on parolees as a law enforcement measure. In trying to track down a tangible solution to prevent and mitigate brutal attacks on persons with albinism in South Africa, this article proposes the extension of the application of the use of the Global Positioning Tracking System to persons with albinism as a strategy to halt the continued attacks against this population. Although Malawi has pioneered the use of the GPS in the context of fighting violent crimes against persons with albinism, what is unsettling to the author is the fact that no debates have taken place on the ethical and legal concerns arising from electronically tagging and tracking people with albinism; especially in view of the fact that persons with albinism are already a vulnerable and stigmatised population. Could it be that ethical issues and human rights are to be ignored when it is affirmed that technology serves the common good of protecting persons with albinism? My emphasis here is on the need for a debate on what could otherwise be a controversial application of technology. Although the purpose of the GPS is undeniably worthy, sometimes the way these devices are used can be more problematic. More challenging is the desire to justify the encroachment of any rights, as arises through using this crime prevention strategy. The use of the electronic monitoring system to tag and track persons with albinism raises crucial human rights and ethical concerns, particularly relating to the right to privacy, liberty, perhaps equality, and notably, the right to dignity. There is a need to be conscious of the possibility of the misuse of the technology and precautionary measures must be put in place. This article therefore discusses the ethical and legal issues which could arise from the electronic tagging and tracking of persons with albinism.

Palabras clave : Global Positioning System (GPS); tagging; tracking; persons with albinism; right to liberty; privacy; stigma; dignity.

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