Those who know me, know that I support the unrestricted development of all new technology. I don’t care if it’s medical, computational, military or any other. Almost all new technology can be used for good or evil, so it’s up to society to determine what is or is not acceptable, and what does or does not need to be regulated.
Take for example the Global Positioning System. This network of satellites encircling the globe has enabled the US military to carry out targeted operations, ensuring military dominance while also sparing civilian lives. GPS also enables civilians a previously unmatched freedom to navigate, measure, map and otherwise understand our surroundings.
The most recent technological innovation involves combining GPS with wireless networking (such as cellular connectivity) to allow businesses, governments and individuals to track goods being transported or even employees or family members.
One such service DriveSync, suggests that parents utilize the device to spy on their teenager’s driving activities.
Using DriveSync you can monitor vehicle use, then view the results later on your home computer. By discussing the results with your teen on a regular basis, you can answer their driving questions and address safety concerns.
They go on to explain how the equipment works:
Easy to install in your vehicle, the DriveSyncÃ¢â€žÂ¢ unit monitors and records driver behavior: when, where, how far, how fast and how aggressively a vehicle is being driven.
Surprisingly, another service provider targeting paranoid parents is Disney Mobile. Disney has been spending a fortune advertising the fact that their cellular network allows parents to specifically track the whereabouts of their children. Interestingly, they state that the service cannot be used for children over the age of 16. (Presumably out of legal concerns?)
Society is going to have a long time to determine if tracking people is acceptable or not, but I wonder what the attitude of a kid who grows up being tracked will be like? While I’m quite certain that I would have rebelled ferociously under this sort of scrutiny (and my family can chime in if they believe otherwise) might children that are raised with the understanding that this is a normal part of life come to accept more and more tyrannical forms of invasion of privacy?
Personally, I worry that the pervasive attitude might become “If you’re not doing anything wrong, why are you worrying about being tracked?” as opposed to the more constitutionally correct “If I’ve not been proven to be doing something wrong, why are you tracking me?”
I can see a day when pets, endangered species and even people are tagged with GPS tracking chips. I just wonder if we’ll be able to turn them off when we want to…