UK rollout for sweat-testing ankle bands to enforce alcohol bans

Originally published at: UK rollout for sweat-testing ankle bands to enforce alcohol bans | Boing Boing


Looks for mention of giving counseling to the addicts who are forced to go cold turkey by wearing these monitors. Finds none, is re-assured that this is indeed the UK.

(to be clear, I’m not making excuses for drunk driving arseholes, just pointing out that this ankle bracelet isn’t going to magically solve the problem.)


What, after the amazing success of car breathalizers and mandatory antabuse prescriptions, you doubt the ability of technology to solve behavioural problems?


Are these voluntary, as in “You have a choice: sit in jail for a month, or you can volunteer to wear one of these”? Are these mandatory for all alcohol-related offenses, and there’s never any jail time (except whatever time you spent in the tank sobering up?) Or are these 100% up to the discretion of the judge?

CRIME MINISTER KIT MALTHOUSE: We’ve found the ankle bands to be an unmitigated success in enforcing alcohol bans, and encouraging sobriety among those who are wearing them.
REPORTER: But Minister Malthouse, what about the dramatic rise in drug use by those wearing them?
CRIME MINISTER KIT MALTHOUSE: I’m a trifle deaf in this ear. Speak a little louder next time.


^this. Hopefully the punished seek out weed instead of something worse than alcohol.


How easy would it be to fool this tech? Can I put a cloth between the monitor and my skin that prevents it from detecting my sweat, say something heavier than a sock (such as a towel)? Is there a BA% threshold before alcohol is detected in sweat? What if I turn the aircon down to 60, sit in my skivies and drink? What else was it designed to detect?

I’m not a fan of State mandated surveillance tech, especially when it used instead of more effective interventions to address substance abuse (or any other criminal or criminalized activity). Too much opportunity for abuse (imagine if this tech was available during prohibition), and the inevitable spill-over into the private sector (Amazon Fulfillment Center Alcohol Monitoring Anklets) or by health insurance companies (You used alcohol in the last 90 days, your carpal tunnel claim is denied!).


If the weed’s good enough, there’s no need for the ankle monitors.

high af GIF


Maybe warranted if you have habitual DUIs or something like that.

Right? 'Cause you’re not getting any further than the kitchen or the couch.

Only problem is…beer tastes amazing when you’ve got serious cottonmouth.


Community Orders requiring treatment plans, some residential, are very common and almost always used in cases where dependency/abuse is a factor.

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If you can’t put a cloth between the monitor and your skin I foresee a lot of chafing and not much good for your skin. Presumably they stay on while you bathe etc. If they’re tight enough to be monitoring sweat I really wondering about what it does to your skin.


How about something impermeable to moisture, like plastic wrap or aluminum foil? Maybe with a thin layer of fabric to keep it from feeling sweaty against the skin?

I think I’d go with t-shirt fabric against the skin and heavy plastic (like from a contractor trash bag) as a vapor barrier. Day one, I’m wearing that without drinking. If they come to investigate the suspicious lack of sweat, I’ll pull it off before I answer the door. If they don’t, I’ll start drinking.

This was my first thought, because in all the years I’ve worn anklets, that’s never been a place with a noticeable amount of sweat. Having a tight band would create what’s needed for monitoring, I guess. Pore problems or skin irritation could be the result.


Yeah, but when you’re stoned a Big Gulp of soda will do in a pinch.


HFCS only makes me thirstier. I avoid beverages containing it like the plague they are. Jarritos or GTFO.

We are soooo off topic now. Must fix…

It does seem the potential for corporate evil doers abusing such a device is very high. Yet, competing corporations (lookin’ at you, InBev) have great incentive to prevent that from happening.


Or just get drunk in the bath.


The tags can only be used with offenders over the age of 18, who are not dependent on alcohol or have certain medical conditions.


Quite true, although I’m sadly not a fan of the combined highs.

So does beer; alcohol is a pretty strong diuretic.

HFCS is worse for me. :woman_shrugging: Bodies are weird.