An astounding quote on the Mosquito

Following the update on the Mosquito story, i.e. that it is to be switched off at a shop in Newport after questions were raised about human rights issues, the BBC story ‘Anti-gang noise box switched off’ carries an astounding quote from Compound Security, the manufacturers:

“The Merthyr based manufacturer Compound Security Ltd insisted the device does not breach the human rights of young people who can hear it.

Marketing Director Simon Morris said: “The noise has been tested extensively on dogs and cats who are totally unaffected by it.

“The device has a small range and it takes at least 10 minutes for the annoying nature of the noise to take effect.

“People have a right to assemble with others in a peaceful way – without violence or threat of violence.

“We do not consider that this right includes the right of teenagers to congregate for no specific purpose.”

What? Now people have to have a specific reason for being somewhere? Teenagers don’t have the right to ‘congregate for no specific purpose’? Maybe you should have to get a permit before going outdoors, indicating what purpose your trip has? It’s like living in V for Vendetta.

What makes it even odder is that if groups of people do have a specific purpose for congregating, then that brings public demonstration/gathering/Riot Act-type implications.

Presumably if the teenagers’ express specific purpose for gathering outside a shop really were ‘to intimidate customers’, that would be OK, then, according to the argument in the quote?

Now I accept the possibility that the quote may have been edited by the BBC, or parts taken out of context, and so on. That’s happened to me before, and it can be embarrassing. But if that quote is accurate, then, well, I’m still too shocked to know what to say.

More comments and argument on the Mosquito.


  1. Overall, it seems strange for a corporate person to be offering interpretations of civil rights…a bit out of their purview, perhaps?

  2. Dan

    You’re right, Steve. Although I’m not sure that I’d like to hear someone for whom this was supposedly his/her purview (e.g. a politician) espousing the same opinion either. Certainly not if that person had any power.

    “The right of free association” is in the European Convention on Human Rights as well as the US Constitution:

    Article 11 – right to freedom of assembly and association

    Article 11 protects the right to freedom of assembly and association, including the right to form trade unions, subject to certain restrictions that are “in accordance with law” and “necessary in a democratic society”.

    Is the “absence of express purpose” a necessary restriction in a democratic society as the Compound Security spokesman seems to be implying?

    P.S. Good to hear from you

  3. Adam

    Let’s not forget the rest of the Universal Declaration, either:

    Article 2 Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, *without distinction of any kind*

    Article 3 Everyone has the right to life, *liberty* and security of person.

    Article 7 *All are equal before the law* and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.

    Article 11 Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed *innocent until proved guilty* according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defense.

    No one shall be held guilty of any penal offence on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a penal offence, under national or international law, at the time when it was committed. Nor shall a heavier penalty be imposed than the one that was applicable at the time the penal offence was committed.

    Article 13 Everyone has the right to *freedom of movement* and residence within the borders of each State.

    Article 20
    Everyone has the right to *freedom of peaceful assembly and association.*

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