back to article Teen-bothering sonic device now does grownups too

The controversial "Mosquito" noise device, originally designed to move on groups of tiresome youths by emitting high-pitched sounds only they could hear, has been upgraded. The annoyance machine can now target all ages, and has drawn further protests from concerned groups. The new Mark 4 Mosquito puts out noise "at 100 …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Need More Info

    ...The new Mark 4 Mosquito puts out noise "at 100 decibels", according to the BBC, which seems unlikely...

    Why unlikely? You don't say at what distance from the device the measurement is taken.

    It's not unlike saying "this super new car can travel almost one hundred miles in an unspecified period of time".

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Big question

    '"It is quieter than a child playing the violin," inventor Howard Stapleton told the Beeb.'

    Yes, but is it as annoying as a child playing the violin?

  3. teacake

    Ban 'em

    The fact that the mosquito is "basically just a speaker" is neither here nor there, and legislating against it should be quite straightforward, with no need to ban "stereos-at-ambient-plus-5-decibels" at all.

    The mosquito has a very specific aim - to make it unpleasant for people to remain in a location. Simply ban all devices that have this sole purpose.

    It's legal to transmit signals, but it's not legal to transmit a signal that blocks mobile phones or interferes with speed monitoring equipment. Why would this situation be any harder to legislate than those?

  4. Rosco

    Is this the Daily Mail or The Register?

    "It seems that the rights of loitering youths in this case trump those of local authorities"

    I expect that kind of issue-skewing, manipulative language from the Daily Mail, not El Reg. Liberty's point is not that loitering youths in particular have more rights, it's that all humans should be free from deliberately unpleasant sounds being foisted upon our poor ears.

    And legally, I think it could be easily argued that a deliberate intent to cause unpleasant sensations to others is substantially different to playing one's music loudly for one's own pleasure.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    bet it doesn't do much to a chav wearing headphones and a hoody but really f---s off the completly innocent teenager who wants to chill out for a little bit.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Noise cancelling headphones...

    That is all.

  7. Mike

    Cheh Chech Chehc boom boom boom chech ech ech

    Is it more or less annoying than chavs at the back of a bus playing gangsta rap on their mobile phone for everyone to endure?

  8. W

    "It is quieter than a child playing the violin"

    Time for the Reg Standards Soviet to come up with an official dB -> "[random sentient being] playing the violin" conversion.

  9. Stephane Mabille
    Dead Vulture

    El Daily Mail


    The right of loitering mob protected by those communist of Liberty? Oops I should be on the wrong site... My proxy admin should have made a (bad) joke on me and redirected me to the Daily Mail....

    I just hope it won't make it a permanent redirect.... :-(

  10. Kebabster


    "It seems that the rights of loitering youths in this case trump those of local authorities"

    > I expect that kind of issue-skewing, manipulative language from the Daily Mail, not El Reg.

    You haven't been reading El Reg for long then?

  11. Joe K


    Wasn't it proved that playing classical music, or Cliff Richard tracks, was far more effective?

  12. Anonymous Coward

    Silent Majority Response

    'It could cause damage to the rest of us and certainly make our lives a bit of a misery'

    Shammi, the only thing that makes has made our lives a misery over the last 30 years is having left wing do-gooders like yourself ruin this country with your soppy ideas.

    Once you break the law of the land (criminals, illegal immigrants..) or even just decide to show two fingers of respect to the people in your community (youths intimidating shop customers) then, providing the response is measured, moral and legal the offender should have no right of response.

    If a mosquito device is being used inappropriately then that is just as bad but as the problem finds the solution I suspect this is rarely the case.

    Maybe the devices should require a local authority licence for use and control but to suggest banning them is just ridiculous.

    I hope the 'silent majority' would agree with this otherwise I really am emigrating.

    Anyway, thanks for reminding me I must wash the motor.

  13. Anonymous Coward


    Since I saw this on the beeb this morning I've had a headache. It gave me tinitus for about an hour after watching the report on TV.

    It's going to be really cruddy if the shop down the road fits one thats just nearly out of earshot - headaches and tinitus all day?

    Why didnt someone in the subway feign passing out and do us a favour?

  14. daniel
    Thumb Down

    there is one of these things

    outside a local supermarket, I went in to buy some food, then wanted to sit outside and eat the food I had just bought, but in the time I was inside they'd turned the thing on. There was an older lady there doing the same thing, eating her food outside the supermarket, on the bench that they supplied, why do I have any less right to do that?

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    teen bothering?

    No, it's baby+child+teen bothering. Note in particular babies, who will likely become distressed, but whose parents will likely be unaware of the cause.

    Unless they're hoodie-wearing chavtastic teen parents, I suppose.

  16. Christoph

    Not just teenagers

    This gadget is always quoted as affecting 'teenagers'. This is nonsense - you don't suddenly become able to hear it at age 13.

    It affects *all* young people. It affects infants in prams who cannot explain to their parents why they start screaming when they go in a particular shop, and cannot understand why their parents are yelling at them for screaming. It affects young children who complain about the horrid noise and get told "Rubbish, I can't hear anything, come along and stop moaning!"

  17. Simon Miles
    Thumb Up

    Bring on the trumpets

    I'm in favour of these, at long last i can nip down to the local newsagent after dark for a pint of milk without the "One Stop Krew" (their choice of name, not mine) making it damn near impossible to get in. I find it very annoying to walk past, but since i'm only heading in/out it's bearable. The point is it makes it impossible to loiter outside and if an innocent teenager can put forward a case for WHY they need to hang around outside a newsagent/shop/private dwelling after dark, i'll actually go back and tear it off the wall myself.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Ban 'em

    It's not that simple. What, exactly, would one ban? A ban that is easily circumvented by the vendors changing how the device is described would be annoying and pointless. Suppose, for example, that the vendor offers a generic sound-producing device that can be programmed to do lots of different things, including the "mosquito" function.

    The comparison with blocking mobile phones is rubbish: it is not "legal to transmit signals". In general, it is illegal to operate any radio transmitter. There are specific exceptions for licensed devices such as mobile phones.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Already illegal...

    They probably constitute a public nuisance.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    Am thinking I should start playing it all day long at home while I'm at work, people will be annoyed enough to move home and the property prices will drop meaning I can snap them up and make a mint when I turn the sound off...

  21. Matt Sprigg

    100db? is that all

    My car does 157db

    kids love it the old folk tend to really hate it - maybe I could get a job clearing old folks homes with a little loud drum and bass!

  22. Simon Neill

    If it bothers people....

    ...They will just not go there. Of course that is the aim. But if, as has been suggested, then it affects adults too then shops that use these will soon have no customers.

    I can't imagine the local spar deploying one of these to drive away the chavs that provide 99% of their cider sales.

  23. Guy Herbert

    Why not use the Environmental Protection Act?

    Or for that matter complain directly to police of assault occaisioning actual bodily harm. This is a loud noise calculated to cause discomfort, and if it causes discomfort it is probably damaging hearing.

  24. Robert Skedgell

    Statutory nuisance?

    IANAL, but surely the use of such a device would be a statutory nuisance under s. 79(1)(g) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 since it is "noise emitted from premises so as to be prejudicial to health or a nuisance" (causing a nuisance being pretty much the sole purpose of such a device). Users of Mosquito-type devices are, after all, usually trying to keep people from *public* spaces which may be near their premises, but they do not actually own. If the local council won't issue a s. 80 abatement notice, *any* person may bring summary proceedings in a magistrates court under s. 82(1).

  25. GettinSadda


    There are lots of ways that a law could be drafted to effectively ban these devices.

    For example:

    * Planning: Any devices whose primary purpose is to make sound (as opposed to things that make sound as a side-effect, such as air conditioning) and which operate for more than an hour a day on average, and that are mounted such that they can be heard (above a specific level) in a public place, shall be subject to planning permission.

    * Sale of Goods: No device shall be sold or marketed for the specific purposes of causing damage, pain or irritation to humans by using sound.

    * Environmental Health: No person, either directly of using a device, shall deliberately or knowingly on multiple occasions, cause damage, pain or significant irritation to other humans.

    Sure, they need added legalize etc, but you get the idea!

  26. Ben Park

    i can hear them too

    I'm over 25 (not by much) but I can hear these horrible things (the ones aimed at children). I tested one with a friend of 32, and he could hear it as well.

    If they want to play loud irritating noises, fine. I'll go one further than not hanging around though, and just not go to the area at all. Great for the local economy that is. In the same way I won't use websites that have enormous animated flash adverts that cover up what I'm reading, I won't buy from anywhere that actively discourage me spending time near their shops.

  27. OzBob
    Thumb Up

    Bit of "context" needed before usage,...

    Hook it up to an ancilliary device, that detects either movement or heat and whether it stops or not (or even monitor locations by CCTV), then program it to give some warning beeps 60 seconds before it activates. Not opposed to this device on principle but "always on" would be bloody annoying to everyone, even passers-by.

    Wish we had this device in the 70s when my father and brothers and myself all had to wait an interminable time because mother had found someone to talk to outside the shops.

  28. Red Bren


    The Silent Majority just phoned to say you've been thrown out for voicing your opinion!

  29. Anonymous Coward


    I wish Shami Chakrabarti would put as much time into helping the victims of crime as she does championing the human rights of criminals.

  30. Thomas Jerome

    repetitve annoying music

    "It is quieter than a child playing the violin... What makes it appear loud is the fact that it is going on and off four times a second. That's what makes it very annoying."

    Sounds like most of the music I listen to.

  31. James Taylor
    Thumb Down

    Me too!

    I'm just shy of 30 and can still hear them as well.

    There is a shop near me that used do play classical music outside. It worked wonders. No kids anywhere. The local council made them stop. Yet the shop with the mosquito is aloud to assault me with that horrible noise. It's like having my teeth drilled from the inside out!

  32. Nick
    Thumb Down

    Thanks Auntie.

    Thanks BBC. I was happily listening to Ken Bruce this morning whilst doing some programming (read - surfing the net) with my headphones in, and then the news saw fit to broadcast the noise, seemingly without warning.. Now, the voices in my head have been replaced by the the bells!

    Being over the age of 25, I can still hear the original mozzy - a recent hearing test in fact showed that it was deep 'bass' sounds that I couldn't hear, or at least, that was before Radio 2 saw fit to blast our ears with wrongness. And I thought that was Radio 1's job?

  33. Eden

    MK Centre has these

    I'm 26 and these things set off my Tinitus somethign rotten to the point it gives me a splitting headache, a shop in the MK Centre deployed one of these so I just avoid that entire stretch of the centre (as it actually causes me pain) so that's about 13 shops loosing out on my business, fine, plenty of others happy to have my money =p.

  34. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

    Actual Bodily harm...?

    "..Or for that matter complain directly to police of assault occaisioning actual bodily harm. This is a loud noise calculated to cause discomfort, and if it causes discomfort it is probably damaging hearing..."

    I suspect that this is intended to cause MENTAL discomfort rather than actual physical damage. But that only makes things worse for the operator. There are all sorts of legal remedies available for people who claim to have suffered mental anguish as a result of various activities, and the settlements can be huge. There should be no trouble claiming you have suffered - the whole point of the machine is to apply suffering!

    Incidentally, the principle of induced mental disturbance by applying sound has a long track record in interrogation. Remember The Ipcress File? I suggest that from now on El Reg refers to these items as 'Sonic Torture Devices', which should indicate the sort of technology use we are dealing with....

  35. Steve

    @ Simon Miles

    "The point is it makes it impossible to loiter outside and if an innocent teenager can put forward a case for WHY they need to hang around outside a newsagent/shop/private dwelling after dark, i'll actually go back and tear it off the wall myself."

    Nobody needs reason to be in a public place. YOU are the one who needs to provide a reason why they CAN'T be there.

    But since I'm feeling generous I'll give you your reason: They have nowhere else to go. If they are inside, you'll be bitching about the generation of couch-potatoes that we're breeding and given that most of the facilities for young people in this country have been sold to build housing or been privatised, they hang out in the few places they can afford to go that have any facilities - namely, a bench to sit on and somewhere to buy drinks/food.

  36. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    classical music

    Yeah, that's been used in bus stations and such too. Makes much more sense.

    I suppose for a subtle hint of menace they could play old Gary Glitter songs. Or perhaps have little screens showing the films of Roman Polanski.

  37. teacake

    @ AC 12:03

    "It's not that simple. What, exactly, would one ban? A ban that is easily circumvented by the vendors changing how the device is described would be annoying and pointless. Suppose, for example, that the vendor offers a generic sound-producing device that can be programmed to do lots of different things, including the "mosquito" function."

    Well, that's so easily dealt with I'm surprised it even needs saying. A device incorporating an illegal function is illegal, surely. You don't say "That handgun is legal because it also includes a torch" do you? Or do you?

    "The comparison with blocking mobile phones is rubbish: it is not "legal to transmit signals". In general, it is illegal to operate any radio transmitter. There are specific exceptions for licensed devices such as mobile phones."

    No it's not. My original point might have been a simplification, but in essence it is possible, as you have demonstrated, to licence certain use of a technology without giving carte blanche. Allowing people to have sound-generating equipment (a hi-fi) does not mean you have to allow them to play nuisance sound to drive people away from a location. And you don't have to frame the law such that nuisance has to to be demonstrated in each instance, merely ban the devices which have that function. Can't own it, can't operate it.

  38. Scott Wichall
    Thumb Down

    I can hear them...

    Well, I am a proper old fart of 34, and when a local shop installed one, I could hear it clearly. Very painfull it was too.

    Didn't seem to stop the chav's sitting around outside the shop though lol

  39. andy gibson

    @ Steve

    Regarding "no places to go". They tend to hang around on parks and playgrounds.

    They only go the shops to beg people to buy them booze and / or just cause trouble.

    I'd rather face the gauntlet of an annoying noise (why don't they just broadcast the rants of Shami Chakrabarti?) than fight (literally) my way through a gang of youths.

  40. This post has been deleted by its author

  41. Luther Blissett


    Only last week a campaigner won a court case over exposure to crop spraying because HMG guidelines failed to assess properly the risks from insecticides. The adverse effects of noise on hearing has been known for decades, and I doubt much work would be involved in showing the risk from these devices. In particular, that risk is a function of intensity at the subject position and length of exposure. One device may carry no risk - if every shop on the street has one, the risk may be significant. People take their hearing for granted until it starts going defective - but the changes are mostly irreversible. Barry Manilow, Teletubbies, Wombles, anything is better than very narrow band noise. This device is simply wickedness.

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    kids only ????

    I am well into my 30's and these mosquito devices (that only people under 21 can hear) drive me nuts when they are activated, I can generally hear them from around 300 yards away and then dont bother going any closer.

    A friend who is now in his 50's can also hear them perfectly well.

  43. Oliver Mayes
    Thumb Down

    New version might be a good thing

    I'm 23, and a shop near me has one of the original devices, I can't drive past the shop without my ears hurting. I would have thought that something that distracts and in some cases causes pain to passing drivers should be illegal.

    Maybe if the new one is audible to everyone and not just us whipper-snappers then finally people will start taking notice of how unpleasant the bloody things are and might actually bother to do something about them.

  44. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    What's wrong with standard X-Mas music?

    "Let it snow" and all that stuff... makes me want to barf in the shopping center aisles, then move on quickly.

  45. Tim

    Which reminds me...

    It's that time of year when the festive lights will be dominating the, er, areas of social housing. As Chavscum seems to have demised, can anyone recommend a site which will be featuring the tackiest creations of our less-employed fellow citizens?


  46. Steve

    Having worked with the people who designed this...

    Yup, you read that right. I have helped design several other acoustic products with them (intercompany projects - I designed some of the electronics, but not for the Mosquito) which easily output in exceed of 100dB (@1m) whilst drawing just a couple of mA from the supply. I suspect people have got confused with the decibel weightings.

    The obvious issue is that this is a classic example of the law of unintended consequences (attempts to get it banned lead to it being far more reaching) – but – the user doesn’t have to operate it in the non-discriminatory mode; I suspect most will use only the HF mode.

    It’s not in anyone’s interest to leave such devices on permanently, so why not call for a fair use policy instead of calling for legislation against their use at all? What of those who have a genuine problem with feral youths who loiter, is it right that the innocent/needy are needlessly forced to suffer?

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ teacake

    "The mosquito has a very specific aim - to make it unpleasant for people to remain in a location. Simply ban all devices that have this sole purpose."

    That would be good, would mean that kids using mobiles on busses would be banned as well, as that makes it unpleasant to stay in one place. Not he sole purpose but if the law is based on sole purpose all the manufactor has to do is come up with a bs non sole purpose, easy law to defeat.

    If it moves along the yobs (sorry not allowed to use that any more, how about "behaviour challenged") people then all the better

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Heavy Beat Music

    Let's see, 4 beeps per second = 240bpm. Just bring along a drum machine and you've got yourself a rave. Are they still illegal?

  49. michael cadoux

    mozart, please

    The "anti-youth" version almost sounds (!) okay until you start thinking about it - what about dogs, often left tied up outside? And babies?

    Barry Manilow is a bit harsh, I'd prefer Mozart but if that fails, Kiri Te Kanawa should see them off. If nothing else works, Mahler - but that would give me seizures, so only as a last resort.

    I've read that painting street furniture pink is effective for obvious macho reasons.

  50. The Other Steve

    Yeah, nice one Shami &co

    If they wanted to make a fight out of this there were lots of ways of going about it, public nuisance (as ably covered above), age discrimination in the case of the "yoof" version, the fact that it's indiscriminate in that it targets everyone, not just "trouble makers", the possible health issues, etc.

    I would have thought that the fact it distresses infants (again, well covered above) would be a good choice, since the WSPTOTC* card pretty much trumps every argument in the minds of those members of the public and the house that need to be convinced in order for Something To Be Done, and in this case is actually quite reasonable.

    But straight away they're in with the "It's a breach of human rights" shrilling, so now instead of having a sensible debate about it, it's turned into a wedge issue and Shami &co are guaranteed to fail in their mission, because the volk will say (not unreasonably) "what about _my_ human rights ?" and some wanker like Jack Straw will invent some other totally fictitious but reasonable sounding right like "the right to go to a 24 hour garage on the corner of a dodgy estate at midnight without seeing a tracksuit" against which the hypothetical rights which are being breached must be balanced.

    As to the rights which may be being breached, I'm left, as usual, wondering weather Shami &co have actually read the Human Rights Act, which was worded in such a way that there's handy get out clause allowing each right granted to be suspended, breached, or flat out revoked, which is what makes it such a useless piece of legislation in the first place.

    In this instance I rather suspect that the right in question is Article 11, "Freedom of assembly and association" **, in which case the get out clause is (sorry, quite wordy) :

    <Human Rights Act>

    No restrictions shall be placed on the exercise of these rights other than such as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others. This Article shall not prevent the imposition of lawful restrictions on the exercise of these rights by members of the armed forces, of the police or of the administration of the State.


    There's a whole grab bag of get outs in there which render the "human rights" argument somewhat useless, " prevention of disorder or crime" jumps out immediately as the one that will be thrown back in poor Shami's earnest, elfin face.

    *Won't Somebody Please Think Of The Children


  51. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Ban 'em

    Planning: Easily circumvented by not mounting the device.

    Sale of Goods: Just change the description.

    Environmental Health: These devices don't cause damage or pain. As for "irritation", depending how you define it, I'm not sure you could reasonably ban it or prove that it is intended. I find most advertisements irritating (in one of the many senses of that word); I'm sure the advertisers know that many people find advertisements irritation, so it's done "knowingly" ...

    I'm not saying these things can't be banned, but it doesn't look like an easy thing to do without at the same time giving the police and bureaucrats power to cause all sorts of hassle - to law-abiding citizens, of course, rather than the yobs who would just ignore court orders, threats of fines, etc.

    It's probably a better idea just to let shopkeepers know that these things are not welcome rather than invent new laws.

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward




    The aussie ex health woman who's coining it at BT..

    just a stepping stone on the route to power.

  53. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "I wish Shami Chakrabarti would put as much time into helping the victims of crime as she does championing the human rights of criminals."

    Since when are teenagers automatically criminals? Liberty do a valuable job - I'm sure you'd be the first to complain if you felt that one your personal freedoms was being impinged upon.

  54. Anonymous Coward


    Wouldn't using one of these against to force a person or group to move constitute a form of assault?

  55. Paul

    It's just assault

    If these things are legal I think it should be perfectly legal for the babies, children and teenagers affected to assault the owners of the mosquito devices. These things really are nothing more than indiscriminate assault so if you own and fit one, then expect to be assaulted back, preferably with a needle to your ear drums and a foot in the face, or perhaps a visit to Guantanamo for some more of their strange and unusual torture.

  56. Anonymous Coward


    "I wish Shami Chakrabarti would put as much time into helping the victims of crime as she does championing the human rights of criminals."

    Except we are talking about it affecting all people, not criminals - idiot.

    Some people are badly affected by loud noises. I don't see a rush to deploy strobe lighting which would deter people standing there, because it is accepted that people who are epileptic can be affected by it - we even have warnings of flash photography on tv for that reason. Just because it doesn't affect you doesn't mean it doesn't affect anyone, and if an employer employs someone and doesn't keep the noise level below 85db he has to provide ear protection so how can it be right to sanction 100db of high frequency noise at Joe Public? People's hearing can be affected permanently at surprisingly low levels and the idea of exposing, particularly children to loud noise, intentionally beggars belief. That is where the "actual bodily harm" aspect arises. I understand that people need to be deterred from loitering but as other posters have pointed out, this deters legitimate shoppers too, which is counter productive, and as a previous poster suggested - it should be relatively easy to use a PIR/delay to only trigger when someone has been static for a while.

    Why does it always descend into this all or nothing approach? It's either ban it/kill them/let them rot in hell/lock them all up/make everybody do whatever. What happened to common sense and rational thought?

    Mine's the one with the spl meter (A weighted) in the pocket.

  57. Robert Skedgell

    Public places

    Another question which these devices should perhaps raise is: if a private person attempts to decide who may or may not enter a public space, should they be charged rent and business rates on the area which they had effectively annexed for the period they annexed it?

  58. Christoph

    @ Simon Miles, andy gibson

    "if an innocent teenager can put forward a case for WHY they need to hang around outside a newsagent/shop/private dwelling after dark"

    So tough luck on the person trying to earn their living as a shop assistant in the shop next door while being guilty of being a teenager?

    Or the person living in one of the flats above or nearby?

  59. Christoph

    Could this be extended?

    If it's acceptable to set up a gadget that selectively causes pain to teenagers simply because the shopkeeper doesn't like them, would it be equally acceptable if some nutter could invent a gadget that did something like blast out infra-red tuned to be absorbed by melanin, so that anyone with a dark skin was caused pain and driven away from their shop?

  60. Anonymous Coward

    I'm in favour of an outright ban.

    I'd be very happy to see these things banned, and I'm not even close to being a teenager unless you halve my age ;)

  61. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    almost speechless...

    I must admit i don't get why anyone would shop at a place that uses these devices, I wouldn't go near them. In my opinion it's plain wrong to target a wide group of people for displeasure solely because some kids like to hang around. Anyone who did this would lose my business and i would probably try to convince others to shop elsewhere aswell.

    There are so many other options for dealing with problem individuals; remove seating areas, place 'pigeon spikes' on ledges, use plants or other items to re-arrange the area to reduce 'hang-out' areas. Call the cops when someone breaks the law. I know you brit's like to make it sound like your teens are beyond reasoning but in my experience the quickest way to get rid of teens is talking to them; they quickly tire of you and move on. Aswell like others mentioned classical music not only good for encouraging teens to move on but is calming for most others.

    I'm guessing that teens don't work at any of these places? Here in Canada teens do a huge chunk of convenience store like jobs, maybe offer a kid that hangs out often a job; teach them what its like from the other side of the till?

    This whole behaviour of i don't like/trust you and am going to make you uncomfortable because i can't follow through with reasonable measures for making shopping at my store pleasurable for all is beyond immature, no wonder your having such a problem with teenagers; your society is taking the easy way out no matter who it affects and how.

  62. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Illegal functions" and handguns with torches attached

    This is a bit off-topic, but someone wrote:

    > A device incorporating an illegal function is illegal, surely. You don't say "That handgun is legal because it also includes a torch" do you? Or do you?

    At the risk of sounding like a US gun nut, I should point out that handguns already have legal uses, even in the UK. It is legal to use a handgun for target practice, and it is legal to use one to shoot an assailant in self-defence (though you'd better have very good evidence of exactly what happened). The illegal thing is to own a handgun without a licence (and it is very hard to get a licence nowadays, as I understand it).

    What is an "illegal function" and what does it means to "incorporate" one? Does an axe incorporate an illegal function, namely the function of a crazed axe-murderer?

  63. Robert Moore


    This this won't work. What you need is the ED-209 form Omni Consumer Products.

  64. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I keep asking this...

    ...and have yet to get an answer: What's up with this problem in Blighty? I've been all over the US in my 30 years, and have never, anywhere, ever seen an issue like you guys describe - whether at top-end shopping centers in manhattan or at some cruddy stripmall in the asshole of Louisiana.

    The really funny thing is that, in the UK, it appears that society is so horribly broken that the only way to stop roaming packs of chavs from taking over the entirety of every shopping center in the country is to infringe on the civil liberties of everyone in the area, innocent or not - and the only way to prevent THAT from happening is to infringe on even -more- civil liberties!

    And, of course, all of this is being taped by about 20 CCTV cameras in any given location.


  65. Bounty

    What about the shop next door?

    What if there is an arcade next door to an antiques shop with a bench out front? The antiques shop dude deploys one of these things, and forces the arcade out of business.

    Why not use it on your neighbor's kids... little bastards! Or how about your own children you sadistic *******. I like making babies cry! Maybe you could set it to go off every hour, then laugh as your neighbors dogs and kids start screaming. How about if you live across the street from a school.... all those damn kids walking by, that'll teach them, even when they're in class. They could put these in all cars, running full tilt 24/7 to help prevent theft from youngins.

    Pepper spray doens't harm you, it's just an irritant, so why not just spray that on any teenager who walks to close to you.

  66. John

    Dunno about the rest of you guys...

    but having Slade's "Merry Christmas Everybody's Having Fun(?)" blasted into my lugholes has killed my desire to buy stuff from the local shopping centre. It should be illegal and Noddy Holder should be forced to sing it live *every* Christmas until he is hoarse. Still, 'tis the season to be jolly.

  67. Anonymous Coward


    >"Once you break the law of the land (criminals, illegal immigrants..) or even just decide to show two fingers of respect to the people in your community (youths intimidating shop customers) then, providing the response is measured, moral and legal the offender should have no right of response.

    If a mosquito device is being used inappropriately then that is just as bad"

    You're a moron. The device affects EVERYONE AROUND. Regardless of whether they're criminals or yobs or not. So ALL uses of it are inappropriate. You don't speak for any "silent majority" because nobody else would be so idiotic as to pretend that fact doesn't matter.

  68. J
    Dead Vulture

    Ai, ai, ai...

    It was going OK until the following stupid part:

    "It seems that the rights of loitering youths in this case trump those of local authorities, property owners or residents to make noises if they choose to. Liberty might have some problems here - a Mosquito is basically just a speaker. The sound that a Mosquito makes has already been sold as a ringtone, and a crackdown which tried to prevent people using their stereos at ambient-plus-5-decibels would be very hard to enforce."

    As others have pointed out, there an inordinate amount of difference between listening to music too loud for your own pleasure (and annoying some people in the process), and making a sound, in public, whose only purpose is to hurt. And anyway, I thought there were laws already being enforced against having a loud party in a residential area after some time in the night. At least some places do, and it is enforced. You know, police and all that. Technology cannot solve everything at the press of a button; sometimes hard work is the only way.

    And why would it be "very hard" to enforce? And what does being "basically just a speaker" and sold as a ring tone have to do with it at all? Radar detectors are illegal in the US state where I live, and they enforce it. A gun is just a little more than a tube that shoots lead pellets, and people buy it for target shooting and hunting. Therefore I guess you believe it's impossible to enforce any prohibition against using guns to shoot people, right?

  69. Peyton
    Paris Hilton

    I don't think these are used in the States

    So maybe that's why I'm confused, but who belongs to this target market of people that want to drive adults away as well?

  70. The Badger

    Re: I keep asking this...

    "...and have yet to get an answer: What's up with this problem in Blighty?"

    The answer is that lots of people in Blighty lack the attention span to even consider issues other than which game/talent/reality show is on television this evening and whether the government is going to give them more money for cigarettes/alcohol/petrol/gadgets/their car or perhaps, if they read The Sun or switch on the television at the appropriate moment, whether the Chancellor is going to take less money away from them for the aforementioned things.

    All these closet Daily Mail readers who've already commented about their notion of "human rights" (being a gift to criminals, according to them) are exactly the kind of people who can't see further than the ends of their noses and who voted in the idiots that have run Britain for the past n decades. They probably wanted massive tax cuts and the government to sell off anything that wasn't nailed down in the Thatcher era, because they were making lots of money themselves (although sucking down the latest drivel from the media pipe, they presumably called it "dosh" in their dimwit social circles). Then, in the Blair era, some of them presumably wanted Tony to repair the mess that is Britain's infrastructure, as long as they didn't really have to pay for it. I recall the Liberal Democrats getting roasted in the early 1990s for suggesting a tax increase to fund education - well, you can pretty much start the clock on the downward spiral in society at that point, if not sooner, after years of discontent with the state of funding in that sector, because identity cards and Trident don't shape the society you live in like the education of your children does. (News to Jack Straw and Jacqui Smith, certainly.)

    It's obvious to anyone who arrives in Britain that (1) the infrastructure is still quite shit (especially if you land at Heathrow, without luggage, of course), and (2) most of the people doing the work (without an attitude) are foreigners. Meanwhile, the Daily Mail audience can't seem to grasp the flaws in their worldview and so need foreigners, not themselves, to blame. It's a shame that in the process they're not only terrorising themselves but also everyone else unfortunate enough to share an island with them.

  71. Tea-800


    Wouldn't it be easier to just play Venetian Snares? The majority of the population is going to either cry and run away or just start dancing.

    Personally, I hate these bloody things. The local shop has one, and the bus stop to get into town is approximately...Oh, all of 5 metres from said shop.

  72. Graham Marsden

    I'm 43...

    ... and yet (having not blasted my eardrums at discos in my youth) I can hear these things as well as (if not better) than any teenager and I object to being treated as some sort of "unwanted presence" thereby.

    And to those slagging off Liberty, you are really missing the point. These devices affect *everyone*, especially the new version, whether they are supposed to or not. They are infringing on *everyone's rights*. Liberty is protecting your rights too whether you realise it or not.

    And before you start bleating "but what about my rights..." please, tell me, since when did two wrongs start making a right? How can you protect one person's rights by infringing someone else's?

    Or are some people's rights more equal than others...?

  73. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    As was mentioned in the article the sound has been sold as a ringtone, the reason is that kids would set it so they could hear their mobile in class and the teacher couldn't.

    Just goes to show how people will subvert any 'anti' technology

  74. Danny

    2 edged blade

    If it is legal then the simple way to discourage use of the first version is to stand outside the premises carrying the second version that affects everyone. Or perhaps outside the homes of the owners and the shareholders.

  75. Thomas Baker

    Guide dogs?

    Does anyone know if these devices affect guide dogs? If so, there's the reason to ban 'em right there.

  76. Pierre

    Forget the Mosquitoes...

    Shoot all people under 20 in the head. After all, they dressing funny and listen to music you don't like, don't they?

  77. Tommy Pock
    Thumb Up

    We're having a baby soon

    If my little geek shows signs of discomfort outside a shop with no obvious reasons for distress - and I see one of these things on the wall, expect one of these things to no longer be on the wall, but inserted forcefully into the shopkeep's face.

  78. IR

    Get rid of cats

    One of my neighbours got one of these to stop kids hanging around the side of his house (he was on the end of a terrace). I was 26 and I could hear it pretty clearly (despite being a fan of loud music, seems that my hearing of that range is still good). His cat went missing the day he installed it and didn't come back until he removed it weeks later.

  79. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    re: Ringtones

    Nice idea except that the frequency involved is outside the range that a phone can actually produce. Remember your basic laws of sampling? F(max) = F(sample rate/2). And unless the child is proposing to speak in a similarly high pitched manner (again, not transmittable over the cellular network) wouldn't the subsequent conversation tend to give it away?

  80. daniel

    @ Guide dogs.

    Yes they do.

    Same place where I can't eat outside, I'm not welcome to do that, because, I'm under 20. It may also have something to do with the fact I have long hair, but thats going out on a limb.

    Anyway its a supermarket lots of people coming and going. Their was a blind guy and his Pal, must have 35, 40, wouldn't have been able to hear the device. The dog started playing up (as far as they were concerned) for no reason, just as they got close to the device. I let them know what was going on and it being the probable cause. The dog was trying to get away from the thing. The dog could easily have pulled the guy into the road. It fell silent about 2 minutes after they went into the store. I wonder if they might of had a word.

    It affects wildlife, guide dogs, cats, anything that can hear with in that range. They are about the same frequency as a dog whistle a friend of mine owns.

  81. daniel

    @ Guide dogs.

    "if an innocent teenager can put forward a case for WHY they need to hang around outside a newsagent/shop/private dwelling after dark"

    erm, I'm allowed out after dark am I not? its my right to go where I want (obviously a public place or where I have permission to be) when I want. I don't hang around in front of shops. Its boring. But it says "I don't want you here" and I don't hear it only if I'm loitering so it affects me if I'm walking past, I get an ear full of nails down the blackboard type noise.

    Further, they are employed during the day too.

  82. Steve

    @ AC, re: Ringtones

    I suspect you are thinking about the sampling rate of the call itself, which is of course unrelated to the sampling rate used for the ringtone. Nowadays most ringtones are in MP3 format which are usually samples at 44100hz, so good enough for up to 22khz, which is above what almost every person can hear. The mozzie tone is just over 16khz (yes I’ve checked).

  83. The Other Steve

    Life, liberty, disambiguation / @Graham Marsden

    "And to those slagging off Liberty, you are really missing the point."

    Just so there's no ambiguity, I'm not slagging off Liberty et al because I don't like them, because I do. And Shami Chakrabarti can protect my human rights any time, rrrrrrr.

    I just feel that :

    A) They aren't making their argument very well, due to the massive holes in the HRA that were presumably drafted in just to make sure that it doesn't, in fact, actually grant any rights that justify the name, and simply citing it leaves them open to the kind of rebuttal I described.


    B) That simply by using the term, rather than by playing it a bit smart and using something else as a jumping off point, they alienate many people. From those who have some understanding of the act (Guardianistas who will talk about balancing of rights, but think theirs come out on top, smug bastards) thru Daily Mail/Express (etc) Readers and BNP members (insert your own Venn diagram here) who have allowed themselves to be convinced that the HRA is somehow a villain's charter by people whom it prevents from reporting every tedious tantalising titbit of other's private lives (Desmond, Rothermere, Dacre, etc) and/or being beastly to darkies, cripples, jews, women and foreigners (Griffin et al, also q.v previous parens), depending on the coords in the diagram you just drew.

    A is a problem with the legislation.

    B is an unpleasant fact of life, made bitterly ironic by the fact that the above listed people are likely to be the first to shrill off about _their_ rights being violated (in fact, their opposition to the HRA actually revolves around exactly this, if only they were able to get their heads around that fact, q.v. also various comments), as rather neatly illustrated by the BNP invoking it recently after having campaigned against it for so long.

    There's scope for a rational, measured debate about the use of such devices, and all similar measures, but it's borked when you start it by invoking the HRA, because A means the govt will just tell you to fuck off and mind your own business while they take action to prevent crime and disorder, which is very voter friendly, thank you very much. And B means that the vicious slavering mob will say "yeah, to right", seasoning with infantile racial epithets to taste. Bastards. they might even toss in the word "communist" if they're a total and utter fuckwit.

    To further disambiguate, I personally think it's a repugnant idea that we somehow start to target some section of the population (any section) and remove their rights because we don't like them, which is what this is all about, even if it's being done in such a cak handed way as to end up effecting everybody. Firstly, because if you have a disenfranchised, alienated group (again, this is, in reality, the hypothetical target of such measures), treating them like shit is not going to help re-enfranchise or un-alienate them, quite the opposite, and secondly because if you pick a section of the populace and remove their 'human rights', or simply treat them as described and forget about the emotive terminology, you dehumanise them.

    If you dehumanise them, you make them no better than cattle.

    If they are no better than cattle, then it's OK to load them onto trains and ... well, we know where this goes.

    "Liberty is protecting your rights too whether you realise it or not."


    Now, begin the flamefest, all those who think I've unjustly called them a Nazi.

  84. Cheshire Cat

    Oh Im so glad I emigrated

    This is going to make whole shopping centres no-go areas for people with small children and babies, who will be in real pain and discomfort while the parents blithely notice nothing. It's like smoking - one person starts doing it, and everywhere in a large radius is unpleasant.

    Any record shops or arcades will go out of business if one of these is set up within 100m.

    Personally, I'd far rather they played Beethoven. Proven to work just as well on chavs, plus its pleasant for everyone else and most importantly doesnt torture your babies and toddlers. But this would be too sensible for the UK these days... glad I left for the BOFH's home country.

  85. Dick Emery
    Thumb Down

    Meh! That's nothing.

    I have to put up with chronic tinnitus 23 hours a day 7 days a week. A constant hissing and buzzing noise in my ears. This would also prove inefective for me as I have high frequency hearing loss anyhow.

  86. Phil
    Black Helicopters

    Infrasonic warfare?

    couldn't the chavs hook up a tone generator to a suitably tricked out car stereo and blast the offending shop with low frequency sound, guaranteed to cretae feelings of fear, nausea and unease in all the customers and employees? No more illegal than the mosquito and the shop would go out of business pretty quickly.

    Black helicopter 'cause the rotors are at 18hz

  87. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ almost speechless

    I used to live in Canada, where talking to them would work.

    Think malevolent redneck wiggerz and your getting there.

    Here though, especially in "pure working class areas" you more than likely would get beaten severely, likely including having several people jumping and stamping on your head intending to kill you, then either end up in ICU or 6 feet under in a pine box.

    Worst they would get? assault or culpable homicide as the plods are hopeless and lazy, and the prosecution service are staffed with hopeless handwringers who think everyone is misunderstood and it wouldnt be sporting to charge them with all that, and theres only a 99.9995% chance of a conviction so we'll drop 9/10ths of the charges.

    Oh nearly forgot....most of the bench are going senile and the ones who aren't are the new handwringers just promoted from the aforementioned "prosecution service" I sometimes wonder why we bother with jury trials, most people dread being called for jury duty, and just go with the flow to get out of there faster.

    Having a decent and visible police force might nip trouble in the bud before it gets out of hand. But then that would take funds from the usual "trade delegations to china/Burma/Zimbabwe" translated as sell jobs to a cheaper dictatorship, heck the employee rights rules are written to the bare minimum, breaks every 6 hours...Australia is 10mins between 2 - 4 hours work, 10 and 30 between 4 - 6, 10, 30, 10 between 6 - 8. Most employers they questioned said they already gave breaks in accordance or more than required. Here.....several bosses have hacked 10 or 15 mins off my shifts to deny me breaks to "save time and increase surprised we dont still send kids down the mines. no wonder theres gangs of crazed teens kicking the bells out of family life...both parents at work or pissed out of their minds to forget work

  88. Anonymous Coward


    Oh Dear....

    Good on the Register for employing different types of journalist/commentator. However the chief editor whomever that may be should really vet some of Lewes' pieces. I don't mean to offend but it is pretty obvious from Lewes' ex-navy armed forces background and right-wing leanings that he was going to spin this in a certain way. I'm not saying that his freedom of speech should be curtailed. I feel it would be more acceptable if the chief editor would start beeping in a high pitched way as and when Lewes decides to cut'n'past from 'The childrens book of Reactionary thinking' as I find the words to be upsetting me and others by loitering on the articles webpage.

    Funnily enough I actually had the displeasure of hearing Lewes talk on Radio in the Richard Bacon discussion hour or whatever it was called. He was 'debating' with an Oxford researcher and pasicifist and seemed to find himself heavily outgunned on the rational side of things. He unfortunatly resorted labelling other human-beings as not human based on thier membership or not of SS Death Squads. In the famous words of Noam Chomsky "In any given time any man could be a saint or a deathcamp attendant" - (I rest my case on that) . He went on with the same old drivel about how the Army, Navy and Air Force protect our right to speak freely on "anti-war" issues. In reality of course it is the Army and Police who have always been the ones to supress popular uprisings in this country and others thus curtailing freedom of speech. In addition it is this veneration of the Armed Forces as our "protectors" and the nationalism that goes with it that actually causes wars in the first place. If everyone stopped seeing the Armed Forces around they world as thier "Protectors" then we would have no need for armies. Lewes went on and on about how the B.E.F had to fight because the Germans started the war, if he had thought for a second he would of realised that the rampent militiarism of the german elites and the embedded Prussian military tradition caused WWI. If the German people had a true disrespect for rampant nationalism and militarism they would removed thier own army and War would of been averted. So I guess he's wrong there too. The real issue us the popular fear drummed up by the elites and anyone unfortunate enough to buy/be-programed by the state sponsered version of morality, history and the order of the world in an attempt to impose a an orwellian future is moving ahead without any real challenge form an informed and united underclass (thats all of us who arn't on the top 100 rich list)

  89. Steve

    Fair use policy

    I’ve said it once but I’ll say it again... why do people not call for fair use policy instead of an outright ban? Why is our answer to these things usually limited to bans?

    I notice a fair few posters have assumed these things will be used indiscriminately: “places will become no-go areas” “guide dogs will play up” “it will drive away shoppers” “it will damage my hearing” “makes me feel like a criminal” “what about my rights” “my babies will be in pain”; none of these issues will come to pass if the mozzie is used fairly – activated and used against only those it was designed for. The people who are moaning about the mozzie obviously haven’t considered any reasonable options, and thanks entirely to their earlier ill thought out whinging all of us are now at risk of being affected by it. The medicine isn’t working; please let’s not increase the dose!

    The funny thing is, I can hear those so-called ‘ultrasonic’ proximity/security sensors when they sweep to the low frequencies (they peak at lower frequencies than the mozzie) and they’re truly painful, yet no-one has called for a ban on those. I can even hear the scan from CRT TVs (just under 16khz) as I walk past peoples houses – to whom must I direct my venom to get those banned too?

  90. The Other Steve

    @Mike JVX

    "Here though, especially in "pure working class areas" you more than likely would get beaten severely, likely including having several people jumping and stamping on your head intending to kill you, then either end up in ICU or 6 feet under in a pine box."

    What utter arsewash. And shame on you, because you know it's arsewash.

    Hysterical fearmongering won't help, and since a quick comparison of population figures and reported crime will conclusively illustrate that the world is not as you describe it (or for me personally, just going outside, since I live in such an area), why bother ?

  91. Darren Lovell

    @ Robert Moore

    <ED-209> Please vacate this area! You have 20 seconds to comply!

    (Chavs start walking away)

    <ED-209> You now have 15 seconds to comply.........

    ...Mine's the hoodie with the bullet holes in the back.

  92. Matt Williams


    I just tried out the mosquito ringtones and now I realise why I don't mind the standard iPod earphones - I can't hear anything above 15kHz.

    The cat went a bit mad though - he can hear all the way up to 22kHz.

  93. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    >couldn't the chavs hook up a tone generator to a suitably tricked out car stereo

    These are people who can't even wash properly, who can't even get jobs picking frigging vegetables.

    They're hardly going to develop electronic countermeasures from modified hi-fi equipment are they?

    @All the foreigners/emigrés

    What makes you think this is peculiar to Britain?

  94. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I read about half the comments.

    Attn: Retards: Being a teenager in a public place isn't a crime.

    Lets look at this from another angle.

    *Race* is well known for commiting car crime. I invent a device that you fit to a car that targets them. It doesn't only affect members of *race* currently trying to steal your car, it affects every single one of them who passes within a 20 meter radius of your vehicle, irrepsective of their intent.

    Is this a reasonable way to behave?

  95. Steve

    @ AC 'retard' 3rd Dec 10:12

    “Being a teenager in a public place isn't a crime.”

    That’s a strawman argument (a fallacy), based on the assumption the device will be used indiscriminately. A teenager in a public place is not the intended target for the mozzie, only people who loiter in an undesirable manner are; unfortunately these people tend to be teenagers. You've misrepresented the intended target.

  96. Steve



    @AC 3rd Dec 01:31: when considering all the facts (below), it looks like Lewis’ article was actually very much spot on!

    I’ve just examined at the MK4 Mozzie product range. The sounder can only be activated:

    - manually by remote control (by GSM sms only I believe)

    - by timer

    - by PIR activated only after a selected timer delay (so people, guide dogs can meander past without being affected).

    Also, they have a built in, automatic 20 minute cutoff and will not reactivate until it is retriggered; they cannot operate continuously without a chipset upgrade (available only to police and councils).

    Do these suggest mozzies can be used indiscriminately? No, so please cease your ill thought out, ill informed, left-wing whinging and accept the very real possibility that the inventors (people smarter than you – unless you are able to invent, design and manufacture such products too?) already thought through these kinds of issues so that people like you don’t have cause to whinge!

    Here's you coat, use it.

  97. Anonymous Coward

    Local variant

    I was downtown the other day and noticed that the local Mcdon@lds had installed their long announced noise deterrant system. I was on the way to a sound and listening workshop and the irony was not lost. I haven't been near there in quite a wile so I'm not sure how long it's been in place. The system is more of a white noise generator than the mosquito type, (I know I can still hear up in the 17kHZ range and it wasn't that high up). It was about 80db or so and a bit annoying. The best part was that once I was down the street a bit it sounded like a distant waterfall. The idea here is to move the street people on, we have a large homeless population here in Canada's warmest winter climate, and that may be why it isn't the 16kHz plus version.

    I have an appeciation for sound and music and am quite sensitive to noise and find the whole idea of using sound as a deterrent, weapon if you will, a bit unreal. There are no easy answers to be had for a whole range of the social problems that are out there. Systems like these are a best a stopgap but immediate gratification is what it's all about and if there is a noticable reduction in the number of people sleeping in the side doorway of the shop then it justifies the method for those in the Downtown Business Owners Association.

    In this case it would be nice to know how much the loitering affected McD's sales and how much the noise system is affecting customers decision to enter now the loiterers are gone. I'll have to go back and walk inside to see if the noise is audible inside as well.

    The sonic environment is one that doesn't get a lot of attention. One poster above mentions that we take hearing for granted until it goes, then it's too late to do anything about it. There has been, and continues to be, a reluctance to acknowledge how sound affects health in more ways than hearing loss though.

    Coat with earplugs in the pocket....

  98. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Bring it on!

    I think every town centre CCTV camera position and lamp post should have one. Keep the little sh*ts moving along so they can't cause any trouble. You could set them to pulse from one end of the High Street to the other thus directing the targets out of town. They won't be able to fight with their fingers in their ears!

  99. Steve

    @ AC

    You're a modern day Pied Piper

This topic is closed for new posts.

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