As you probably aren’t aware, your cell phone can be used to locate you whenever the phone is turned on, even if you aren’t on a call, and even if you think you have the GPS function disabled. The government has long taken advantage of this ability, tracking people even without probable cause.
To make it more palatable, several wireless carriers are now offering this functionality as a service to parents to track their children.
And of course, some parents are eating it up. Surprisingly, so are the kids. Wichita, Kan., resident James Davis subscribes to a Sprint service to monitor his 14 year old stepdaughter.
“It’s kind of expensive to do but peace of mind because I can know where she is,” Davis said. “You’re never too old to get kidnapped. My kids, they’d probably bring them back. But just in case. — As long as my daughter has her cell phone on her, for a fee, I can know exactly where she’s at. . . .
“When you’re 14, you don’t have the right to complete privacy,” said Davis, who also monitors his stepdaughter’s e-mail and cell phone usage. . . .
Lynn, Maggie and Kurt Rich – 14, 11 and 10, respectively – think such devices are “cool.”
John Rich said he wasn’t surprised his children thought monitoring tools were a good idea.
“They’re not troublemakers,” he said. — Wichita Eagle
Let’s take a look at some of these services.
Disney Mobile’s Family Locator service is the most basic. It allows parents to determine the location of their children in real time.
The Chaperone Service from Verizon Wireless allows parents to monitor their children’s locations in real time as well as be notified if their children leave predefined “zones” of where they’re expected to be. Verizon notifies the child’s phone by text message if their parents look up their location.
Teen Arrive Alive, provided through Nextel, allows parents to track their children in real time as well as determine the direction and speed they’re traveling. They also provide “Am I driving safely?” decals for the back of teenagers’ cars.
It may well be a good thing for many parents to be able to locate their children, especially in an emergency. But I’m afraid that this technology is making children accustomed to being tracked at all times, and therefore the next generation will grow up without an appreciation for privacy, and with a quiet acquiescence to the coming surveillance state.
Homeland Stupidity maintains an affiliate relationship with T-Mobile, which to the best of our knowledge does not offer a child tracking service.