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UK government criticized for GPS “women-tracking” proposals

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The proposed 888 tracking service for women in the UK has been blasted by rights groups as “flawed” and “deeply misguided.” The human rights advocates have warned that the tracking service violates both privacy and freedoms.

The tracking service was proposed by telecoms company BT and supported by home secretary Priti Patel. It is an app and reporting system that would enable women to enter their home, office, and other regularly visited addresses. In case a user travels, they would be required to enter the details of their trip, and would be tracked and monitored through GPS.

In case a user misses the automated checks, an alert would be sent to their emergency contacts or law enforcement.

The 888 service appears to be the government’s response to the increased violence on the streets. Over the past few months, the government and law enforcement agencies have been blamed for their inadequacy in tackling violence, following the sexual assault and murder of Sarah Everard by a police officer employed by the London Met.

Officer Wayne Couzens used coronavirus restrictions to falsely arrest Everard, who was a marketing executive. He then kidnapped, raped, and strangled her. He was sentenced to life in prison.

“Tracking women’s movements is not a solution for male violence,” said the director of Big Brother Watch Slikie Carlo, speaking to The Independent. “This is a terribly misguided, invasive and offensive policy that misdiagnoses the problem and will do nothing to make women safer.”

The senior legal officer at Rights for Women Leigh Morgan said the 888 tracking service was “deeply flawed in its approach and expectation on women to adapt our lives to try and ensure safety from male violence.”

“This approach encourages a culture of victim responsibility and victim-blaming, and doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of the issue,” she added.

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