How would you feel if your right to freedom of movement was infringed because other people your age were involved in criminal activity? You would be outraged, and rightly so. Yet this is the reality facing teenagers and young people as Scottish railway network ScotRail introduces the Mosquito anti-loitering device at two of their stations.
In an effort to move young people on, the Mosquito emits an unrelenting high-frequency sound which affects those under the age of 25, who have the capacity to hear high-pitched sounds in a way that older people, whose hearing is gradually declining, do not.
This move is in response to recent criminal activity committed at Hamilton and Helensburgh stations by groups of youths. However, the use of such devices targets all young people, regardless of their behaviour.
The device deliberately discriminates, exploiting biological vulnerabilities which young people cannot do anything about. According to the inventors, this is a “safe” sound which relies upon the irritation it causes as a way of getting rid of youngsters when they are “loitering”, and therein lies its aim.