How can it be acceptable for anyone to use a device that deliberately hurts people in order to keep them out of a public place?
This is apparently exactly what Papanui Library in Christchurch is doing with their use of a "mosquito device" that is designed to emit a high-pitched sound that is uncomfortable for teenagers, children and babies.
Christchurch City Council acting head of libraries Erica Rankin said the sound was beamed from a $1350 "mosquito device".
"The mosquito device emits a noise that is undetectable by adults and proves uncomfortable to youth if they spend any length of time in close proximity. The alarm is on all the time."
These are the same devices that the Council of Europe found to be an unacceptable breach of human rights:
"It is neither politically acceptable nor consistent with the safeguard of fundamental human rights. For these reasons, legislative measures should be taken throughout Europe against the marketing of such devices and their use in public places should be banned."
While Papanui Library may have concerns about the behaviour of teenagers at the library, this is obviously the wrong approach to solving it. Libraries should be places where children and teenagers are welcome, not excluded by deliberately making them uncomfortable.
Update: We've sent a request to the Christchurch City Council to find out more about the purchase and deployment of this device.
Update 2: Article from Radio NZ with more information.