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Tracking Your Employees, Children 262

Posted by michael
from the not-much-difference-at-many-companies dept.
Mattygfunk writes "Hong Kong has launched what's believed to be Asia's first location-based service which enables companies to locate their employees via their mobile phones signals." And in a semi-related story, Son-of-a-Geek writes "The BBC is reporting on a new GPS device for kids from Wherify Wireless. With the new device parents can track junior or he can call for help by pushing a panic button. Available only in the US for one penny less than 400 dollars it is a pager as well."
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Tracking Your Employees, Children

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  • I get it... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Alpha42 (19695) on Thursday August 15, 2002 @09:31AM (#4076220) Homepage
    So for just 399.99, I can have a little electro-gizmo that will do the job that I, as a parent, should have been doing all along (Tracking where little Johnny is, and what mischief he's been into)..

    Lovely.

    (Don't get me wrong, I'm all for electro-gizmos, but I also believe that parents should be responsible for just that... parenting.)
    • Re: I get it... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Ian Wolf (171633) on Thursday August 15, 2002 @09:49AM (#4076361) Homepage
      No parent can be there 100% of the time for their child. In the past six months, kids have been taken from their bedrooms, school yards, as well as their front yard.

      It maybe "en vogue" to blast parents for their irresponsibility, but there are some things that all parents are defensless against.

      I have a little girl coming this January, and I'm terrified. We live in a world full of sick and twisted individuals and there are practical limits to what parents can do to protect their children.

      Hell, my parents were the best parents anyone could hope for, but that doesn't mean they were permanently adjoined to my hip 24x7. I was often alone at the bus stop. Sometimes I decided to walk home from school or from a friends house. I would periodically walk to the store less than 1000ft from my house. And sometimes, I would run off somewhere to do something they expressly forbade me to do.

      I think this device, as is, is perfect for its target market, small children. For my teenager, I would prefer a device that they could turn on and off, so that they can control when it should act like a distress beacon. There comes a time, where you have to respect your kids right to be a kid.
    • There's this little thing called kidnapping. Someday, you should consider looking into it. Now, I'm not sure of the exact number of missing children in this country, but I do know it's at least 6 digits.


      The reality is that there are any number of ways for a stranger to grab a hold of your child. I've seen studies (and video tapes) which show that a complete stranger can kidnap a child in under 60 seconds off a playground. Now, imagine a pair of mothers taking their children to the playground (especially if one of them has two children). Being people, the mothers might actually start talking to each other. Now, how easy would it be for a potential kidnapper to grab one of their children? And you would blame the mother for this?


      It's not about a parent doing (or not doing) their job. It's about being able to undo the damage done by unscrupulous individuals as quickly as possible. Keep that in mind.

      • The vast majority of missing children in this country non-stranger abductions.

        This device will do nothing. Any child who wants to get it off or get away from it will. And any kidnapper with half a brain would
        get rid of this thing. It's not like it's tacked on.

        There is *no* substitute for a parent. Should you give your kids freedom? Yes. But you should still know where they are, where they're going, and how they're getting there.

        Don't depend on a 400 dollar piece of equipment to do what you should be doing.
        • "...It's not like it's tacked on..."

          Don't give them any ideas. Pretty soon the paranoids will be right and people will have the ol'tracking microchip implanted under their skin at birth.

          I'm lucky though... I move so little that they would assume the chip was broken.

          Safety through sloth-
    • Except it can only do it where your PCS phone will work. Look at the coverage map, the feind planning to nip your progeny surely has.
      • You're confusing the two techs discussed. The employee tracking uses cell phones. The kid watch uses GPS.
        • Re:I get it... (Score:2, Informative)

          by bobthemuse (574400)
          Watch uses GPS to receive location, still needs method to transmit the coordinates back to the parents. I think the article said GPRS?
        • Re:I get it... (Score:2, Informative)

          by Koyaanisqatsi (581196)


          You're confusing the two techs discussed. The employee tracking uses cell phones. The kid watch uses GPS.

          A GPS receiver tells *you* your current location, and no one else. A cellphone (or other similar device) is still required to report that position back to the control center. That's where the PCS issue comes from: you need its coverage to broadcast the current position

    • Did you never 'get lost' when you were a kid?.... Was it your parents fault, or yours for 'wandering off?' - The fact is that parents can't constantly keep an eye on there kids - there attention needs only to be distracted for a brief moment for kids to disappear, and this gizmo is for when, the kids find themselves lost.
      • So when you got lost as a kid, what happened? Did you wander for months, and end up being raised by wild animals in the jungle?
        I think not... Yes, even before the days of such technological gimmicks, people did actually manage to exist...
    • So for just 399.99, I can have a little electro-gizmo that will do the job that I, as a parent, should have been doing all along (Tracking where little Johnny is, and what mischief he's been into)..

      You're either not a parent and/or have not thought the problem through very well. What about school? What about field trips? What about sleep-overs and birthday parties and outings with friends? What about visiting with Grandma and Grandpa? What about taking 15 seconds to roll the shopping cart away from your vehicle, turning around and seeing someone making off with your kid????

      One cannot watch a child 100% of the time. Indeed, as a child ages, s/he should be gradually given more autonomy as part of normal development. My oldest just started kindergarten yesterday. I am not sure what all of the question is or whether something like this device is even part of an answer, but as my children grow this stuff sure does seem to strike a resonant chord in me. Life is a lot more complicated than simple slogans like "Parents should be parents!"

      • 1. Do not send your children places with people you do not trust.

        2. When you go places, leave your young children at home with someone you DO trust.

        These two simple rules will knock out a lot of this problem, as well as letting me grocery shop or watch a movie without your little vermin screaming and banging into things.

        Kintanon
        • These two simple rules will knock out a lot of this problem, as well as letting me grocery shop or watch a movie without your little vermin screaming and banging into things.

          If you had actually read my post with more than a single functioning brain cell, you might have noticed that everyone I mentioned leaving my kids with would have some level of presumed trust relationship with me and my kids, e.g. Grandma and Grandpa, school and friends whose parents I know and trust. Also, although there is no such thing as a 100% solution, that still doesn't stop me from looking for one, or at least better ones than I have now. Finally, as you evidently didn't notice, I did NOT endorse this device. I, too, have serious reservations about its efficacy. However, its goal of being able to locate your child in an emergency is a laudable one and it is that goal with which I most sympathize.

          As for the "little vermin" comment, well, just be glad that you did not make that comment to me or any other parent in their actual physical presence.

          Later, troll boy.

          • Buddy, if your kid is screaming at the top of his lungs in the grocery store while I'm trying to pick up my groceries I'll call him a lot worse than that, and then I'll denounce you for not raising your kid to be a decent human being.
            I'm not a troll, I'm just not kidcentric. I realize you weren't endorsing the device. But if you don't trust your kids teachers, etc... that's not something that can be solved by this device, or any other locator system. Knowing your kids location does not stop bad things from happening to your kid. And heck, what are you going to do? Watch the monitor 24/7 to make sure your kid isn't going somewhere he isn't supposed to be? What if some stranger offers the kid 20$ to get in his car, it's not an emergency to the kid. He hops in, is overcome physically, tied up, still no alarm, abused, killed, and burried in a shallow grave. At which point I doubt you are getting any signal from the bracelet since most of this would be done indoors or some similar shielded area, or well out of range of the PCS network this thing relies on. So you've got a totally ineffective device that MIGHT let you locate your kids body. Woohoo....
            And a lot of peopls kids ARE little vermin, for sure. If yours aren't great. You're doing your job.
            Breeding should not be a right! You should have to go through the same process to have a biokid as you do to adopt.

            Kintanon
            • Thank you. Much better points this time around. I find that I agree at least partially with most of them, hence my own misgivings about the technology. Given that I am the father of 3 little girls, I am probably more rabidly kidcentric than many, especially in light of recent events in the USA. So even though my rational mind agrees with your misgivings in this approach, something in me wants to find something like this that works. Guess I'm doomed to a life of worry, eh? :-)

  • Now I just need to buy my wife a 'pager'. ;p
  • for 399.99 (Score:2, Informative)

    You too can have a device any smart kid would leave at home..
    • yeah, or have an "accident"..
    • Only if you're a wimpy parent who can't discipline your kid. I'm not saying I would use something like this, but if I did, it's simple to make sure he doesn't forget.

      Johnny, this is the rule: "You forget, you are grounded for the next week.". Problem solved.

  • I wonder how many of those devices will be forgotten on city buses...

    Or better, just drop one into a Greyhound bus bound for the other coast...

  • Think this is wild, what about the family down in south Florida that got CHIPED with the ADSX chips that hold your medical records. They also have batteries that suck the heat away from your body to produce energy to run. Within the they believe they will have GPS in them. All this in a chip the size of a piece of rice. They are putting them in everything from Dogs to Cattle, and people are next....Lost your kid? Here, that little rug rat is on your handy dandy webpage, via gps...

    Anyway, as much big brother as this screams I think parents are going to jump all over the Applied Digital Solutions [adsx.com] chip. It is just a matter of time.

  • 1) That's pretty expensive, considering children loose EVERYTHING. 2) I could see children being mugged because someone wants to steal these watches.
  • ...where Ace Rothstein (Robert DeNiro) gives his faithless, alcoholic wife Ginger (Sharon Stone) a beeper to keep track of her after she'd run out for the umpteenth time? Anyone who's seen the movie knows how well _that_ worked.

    hyacinthus.
  • here [slashdot.org]. Still have grave reservations on using it on anybody competent enough to understand what it is.
  • by paladino (156081) on Thursday August 15, 2002 @09:49AM (#4076356)
    If people would read the information provided you would see that the thing LOCKS! onto your wrist and can not be unlocked by the kid. There would be no "leaving it at home" or "putting it were you are suposed to be". It can be unlocked by the parent remotely via the web or with the provided key fob device. Read people Read.
    • Well, you see, I was watching Johnny's dad fix his car, and he dropped the propane torch, and it went right by my arm. Luckily, the gizmo was there to protect my arm, but it got wrecked. Then, wouldn't you believe it? I tripped over a lug nut, and fell, and the gizmo, being weakened from the heat, got bent. So then we were playing baseball, see, and I got hit by a pitch, which broke it the rest of the way off!
  • I had this same idea a while back... but then found the real problem:

    GPS signals are way too weak to be of any use in real-life situations. Go inside a building and the signal dies. Go under some trees and it's one. Heck even state of the art GPS receivers require a 30-second interval to get its initial coordinates.
    • Yes, and futhermore the batteries are not going to last long. My wristwatch GPS is supposed to do about 70 readings or something. Then I have to recharge it. You certainly don't leave it getting constant readings... Bye bye battery! Add the fact that this thing has to act as a pager too...
  • by theRhinoceros (201323) on Thursday August 15, 2002 @09:49AM (#4076360)
    The window of usefulness for a device like this, IMO, is bounded by two things:

    -the lower boundary being the age where a child can reliably keep this thing on all day without messing with it, taking it off, or letting somebody "borrow" it

    -the upper boundary being the age where the child is savvy enough to put a bit of distance between him/herself and the device.

    If your child is young and loose enough to warrant a $400 tracking device, perhaps your parenting techniques need to be reconsidered. If your child is older and warrants a tracking device, he/she will soon figure out a way to defeat it, whether by losing it, throwing it away, etc. Older children who do not want to be tracked will find a way not to be tracked. The window of age where this device will be an effective tracking solution is pretty narrow, as I see it.
    • It's great to see you took the time to read the product description!

      Now, while I'm not saying it's not possible to take the device off, if you put a lot of time and energy into it, the device is specifically made to be difficult to take off or cut off. Attempts to do so will trigger the alarm feature.

      - Young kids will have trouble letting someone borrow it without parental permission or loosing a hand

      - Older kids who try and remove it will find it triggers an alarm to let their parents know. Nice try.

      Your last paragraph seems to be a little strange ... are you saying that parents should watch their children 24 hours a day? Seems a little unfeasible, I think, but maybe you've figured out a way not to sleep.
      • Watching your children 24/7 is not neccessary if you raise the correctly for the first 5-6 years. Make sure they aren't fscking stupid enough to take rides from strangers etc... And not stupid enough to play chicken with trains, or lay in the street and wait for someone to run them over. Make sure your kid isn't stupid and you don't really need one of these.

        Kintanon
        • Raising your kids to not to be stupid helps how exactly when your kid is abducted by someone a lot bigger and stronger than them, perhaps with a weapon?

          Are you saying kids have to be doing something stupid to be abducted? I'm sure there are numerous victims of abuse who'd find your suggestion that they only got abused/abducted/whatever because they were raised to be stupid as highly ignorant, misinformed and offensive.
          • This device is designed to do the following: Sound an alarm when a child is in an emergency.
            The following situations would in no way be alleviated by this device:

            Child is grabbed off of street by random person, random person cuts off bracelet thing with bolt cutters and tosses it out the window. Now, you have the last known position of the kid, which you would have anyways unless the kid is wandering around on deserted streets alone, which he shouldn't be, Stupid Kid.

            Child is raped/molested by random stranger. Bracelet sounds alert for the entire 15 minutes it takes for kid to be traumatized for life. Not the kids fault, but the bracelet didn't help.

            Kid gets hit by a car, falls out a window, lights himself on fire. Bracelet doesn't help at all.

            Sooo... What is this bracelet designed to do exactly? Let paranoid parents track their kid... Umm, apparently they don't trust their kid, because this thing certainly doesn't stop anything from happening TO the kid.

            Kintanon

      • You said:Your last paragraph seems to be a little strange ... are you saying that parents should watch their children 24 hours a day? Seems a little unfeasible, I think, but maybe you've figured out a way not to sleep.

        Well, not maybe watch the children 24 hours a day, but at least be aware of when you should watch them and where they are. When me and my brother went out to play, my mom said you stay in this area....meaning we stayed with in the block. We were not allowed to walk to the store by ourselves or anything until we were much older. We were raised to respect our parents, so we knew we had better listen or we'd get the proverbial beat down (spanking, priviledges taken away or something to that effect). Now alot of folks want to be buddies with their kids. I will be their buddy sometimes, but, I hate to break it to ya, sometimes I gotta lay down the law. No you must not watch your kids 24 hours a day, but you should at least know where they are at and hope they actually go where they are going. A prime example of being aware of your kids.....that lady in Texas thought the baby would be fine if she just ran the cart back to the corral. We all know what happened. Personally, when in that situation, I will take my son with me to the corral unless I am parked next to it. Only then would I actually leave my son alone in the car and I would possibly lock the door for the minute I would be away. I feel sorry for that lady that she had to go through that and I am not validating what the snatcher did in any way, but that lady could have been more careful when doing what she did. Personally, if I had to take 3 kids to the store, I would not go or if I had to, I would have tried to take another adult or possibly parked next to the corral even if I had to park in the boonies. No blame being placed on that lady and she doesn't deserve to have the wrath of children services come down on her, but she should be more careful (and probably will) in the future.
  • by budalite (454527) on Thursday August 15, 2002 @09:50AM (#4076367)
    There is at least one company, SAIC, that has been installing a similar mobile product in American utility trucks for a few years. It tracks the trucks 24/7. Utility Repair/Installation Efficiency has risen dramatically in response. The Union agreed to the idea only, if I remember rightly, after the Utility agreed to include (and require) an emergency call button on a seperate keychain for the Techs.
    (Disclaimer: Used to work for SAIC.)
  • by TheConfusedOne (442158) <the,confused,one&gmail,com> on Thursday August 15, 2002 @09:51AM (#4076376) Journal
    First off, despite the recent spait of publicity about child abductions, well over 90% of them are by family members. So, they either probably have the code to turn this thing off or it isn't on the kid when they're taken.

    Second, GPS signals and wireless signals are quite easy to block. GPS doesn't work indoors and the most common place to lose a child is a large department store or mall. So, it doesn't do you any good there.

    Finally, battery life. How long will this thing run before recharges? If it doesn't last long then you can just wrap some tinfoil around the thing to block the GPS signal and wait for the battery to die.

    Though, you have to admire how quicly companies can market to the latest paranoia.
    • 90% of them are by family memebers

      I don't know where you got this statistic, but, let's assume it's true. Your argument is a little like saying:

      "90% of car crashes are non-fatal, thus airbags are pointless"

      Yes, it's conceivably possible to block off the GPS signal and wait for the battery to die. Assuming your child's abductor knows the child wears it, knows what it is, and knows how the GPS signal can be blocked. Even with these assumptions, it's still then possible to get the last location of the child before the signal went black, and thus probably where they were abducted. Perhaps you think this is useless information?
      • I think you miss the point.

        The issue, to use your car analogy, isn't that airbags or this particular device are pointless, it's that they don't provide the protection that you think they do. (Though arguably air bags are quite effective.)

        As far as I know, this system would not be sending in its location all the time. Maybe it would send updates every minute at the fastest. The issue is the effectiveness of the data that it gathers and transmits. Additionally, the issue is about how parents would treat this tool. This is not a substitute for watching your kid and escorting them from place to place.

        (As for the 90% I think the number is actually MUCH higher: from http://www.lostchildren.org/STATISTICS.htm we have over 350,000 family abductions in the US yearly. How many stranger abduction cases have we heard about lately? 3? 5?)

    • They already have a battery that gets it's energy from body heat, this is not going to be a problem in the very very near future.

    • GPS doesn't work indoors and the most common place to lose a child is a large department store or mall. So, it doesn't do you any good there.

      However you know they are confined to the mall (which empties and closes at night), otherwise you get a signal.

      Finally, battery life. How long will this thing run before recharges? If it doesn't last long then you can just wrap some tinfoil around the thing to block the GPS signal and wait for the battery to die.

      Howabout the same technology that works your watch from arm movement/heat/electricity or however.
  • Tracking your employee's children. :-)

    I've already got something that can track my kids (if I had any) it's called a large network of friends in my city.
  • The main ISP/Phone Company here in Sweden, Telia, have had that service for a while now.

    Basically you can enable a service which lets your friends locate your phone. The triangulation part is not working yet I think. But the location of the closest GSM station is usually enough to find someone.

    It's SMS/WAP based and can be enabled and disabled easily. It could ofcourse be used by corporations also, they would just have to require the employees to have the service on at all times.
  • Well this device may look pretty cool. But every technology has its double uses...

    First we get it to the kids so they don't get lost or abducted... Pretty and nice toy that kids love to carry.
    Then we keep track of teenagers and where they get lost by night and if they go to school... We stick a superminiature device to their shoes...
    Later your boss keeps track of your wanderings and why you get late to work... All under a new fresh product "Window to worker(TM)" sold by another politically correct privacy corp...
  • First? (Score:2, Informative)

    by BJH (11355)
    Japan's had phones with similar functionality for at least three years... there's a version for children that allows the parents to find out where the phone is via fax.
  • Chldren != people (Score:2, Insightful)

    by LAI (166400)
    This is great. Put your kid on a leash, monitor him electronically, follow his every movement. Why be half-assed about it? Just tag your child like livestock so they can't just "forget" their tracking device somewhere. Are children really denied any human rights that interfere with their parents' plans?

    A kid can't pursue happiness if their particular brand of happiness conflicts with their parents' wishes. Think of the standard example of a kid who is gay, and whose parents are religious or otherwise intolerant. Generally what happens is the kid either represses his normal, healthy urges and becomes miserable or rebels against his parents, often being punished for it, often hating his folks for the rest of his life.

    A kid can't pursue liberty if his parents don't want him to. A kid (with this or any other tracking device) doesn't have the privacy [slashdot.org] that we all strive for [eff.org] all the time. The implication is that a child's life is not his own. He is free to live his life until his parents decide he's stepping on their toes or they decide they don't agree with the way he feels about stuff.

    Kids' right to life is a whole big bucket o' worms, so I won't go into that -- but you get the idea.

    There seems to be a pervasive attitude (not just in North America) that until we reach the age of majority we are not fully human. Speaking in American terms, two of the so-called "self-evident" and "unalienable" rights are waived or subjected to editing according to what the child's parents think.
    • Ah, yes, the 'unalienable rights.' Each year someone quotes that magnificent poetry. Life? What 'right' to life has a man who is drowning in the Pacific? The ocean will not hearken to his cries. What 'right' to life has a man who must die if he is to save his children? If he chooses to save his own life, does he do so as a matter of 'right'? If two men are starving and cannibalism is the only alternative to death, which man's right is 'unalienable'? And is it 'right'? As to liberty, the heroes who signed that great document pledged themselves to buy liberty with their lives. Liberty is always unalienable; it must be redeemed regularly with the blood of patriots or it is always vanquished. Of all the so-called 'natural human rights' that have ever been invented, liberty is least likely to be cheap and is never free of cost.
  • Service provider - The Pinpoint Company - insists there'll be no breach of privacy if it is used properly.

    Duh! I hate to be the one suggesting it but what if - and believe me this is entirely hypocri^H^H^Hthetical - someone isn't using it "properly" ?

    Serisouly, the concern would ofcourse be that it might allow tracking of people who are now aware of it. Although it doesn't mention much of the technical side in the article, I doubt that the technology requires more than software in the phone system. This means that in the wrong hands, any phone could be tracked.

    Still, it'd be cool to install it in your car so you could track that when it's stolen.
  • As a parent of small girls, I welcome this technology. We watch our kids like hawks. They are never more than 5 feet from us. So why would I welcome something like this? Because it's one more level of security.

    3 years ago we were at sea world and I was watching my 3 year old on their giant playground. She went behind a slide and disappeared. I immediately ran over to find her, and she was gone. My heart sank. 30 minutes later my wife and I found her 1/4 mile from where we had lost her.

    So say all you want about "well, the parent should be watching the child." Blah. Things happen. Kids run. I'd love to have something to help me find them.

    That said, an even better technology would be one that would use short-distance (0-5 miles) wireless and simply point in the direction of my child's signal. That would be even more helpful when they wander unexpectedly at sea world or wal-mart or...

    Get off your high horses. After all we can do, parents still need help sometimes.
  • I can recall when VNC was still on the AT&T labs site and they had this other thing that I thought was really cool and also really disturbing.

    You would wear a tag on your shirt, presumably part of an id badge system already in place (or not). In that badge was... something magic - I'd assume a chip of somesort and maybe a transmitter.
    Then using the gridwork of a hanging ceiling, you would setup monitors at central places in each room (or several over large spaces).
    Then this would talk to your servers... or maybe the servers would talk to it... whatever.

    The end result was you could finger someone and it would say where in the building they were - even with the ability for a graphical system as well (technically could even tie into a camera system, but that wasn't something they showed).
    So you could be sitting in a meeting, waiting for Larry (Larry is always late, that bastard), and then on your laptop there finger Larry and see that he is in the kitchen and has been there for 3 hours... perhaps Larry had a heart attack and is lying there dead (or just took off his id badge there and ran away, frolicking merrily in fields of poppies... you know, those fields that are near all offices).
    You could also finger rooms and see all the people in that room - so you could finger the bathroom and see who is in there, or who is gathering around the water cooler.

    That alone made me want to start a company. Just to dick around with that.
  • Sure, they *claim* it won't be used for anything other than finding which employees are closest to the customers so they can reduce travel times, etc. but think of the possible abuse of this. Mind you, you could always forward calls from your work cell to your personal cell, leave the work cell at home, and then even if they do call you, you're covered.
  • You know, between these "Hellion Electric Eyes" (Judas Priest reference for the non-headbangers out there) watching us, and the way the media portrays the mythical "Religious Right" organization as a villian of Emmanuel Goldstein proportions, we're getting closer and closer to 1984.

    I've said this before, and I'll say it again: The sole responsibility for monitoring your child's safety is yours. Technology like this is merely a false sense of security. In the case of companies using it on employees, it's a disgusting invasion of privacy, and I'm surprised that it's legal here in the states. (Of course, I'm also upset that companies, under threat of terminating your employment, can extract bodily fluids from you in the name of a "drug test".)

    Even more of a kick in the teeth is the cost.. $400 bucks to lose all privacy of where I'm at at any given time? No thanks. If I run an errand during my lunch hour, it's nobody's business but my own.


  • Somewhat ironic, conisdering that part of growing up is learning to be indipendent from your parents.

    Remember when you first got lost as a kid?
    Tears... upset.... A learning experiance wasn't it! Maybe someone had to call a policeman for you? All turned out right in the end didn't it. (Kiddy fiddlers are few and far between)
    Maybe parents dont want there kid go grow up or something....

  • I don't know about you but tracking an employee during the day seems to infringe on rights. I would never work on an employeer who implemented such a system, then again most people are a slave to the system and will happily do such things.

    This seems to create a big brother culture, track all your employees, log their phone calls, watch there network usage.. it's 1984.. just a little later. This seems to create a hostil work enviroment rather then one geared towards a happy workplace. You don't want your employees feeling like prisioners while at the jobsite.

    Than again.. if it's based on a cell signal, we all know how well they work.. just turn off the phone!.
  • The simplest solution is to just chop off your kid's feet and stick them in front of the TV until they are ready for college. No more parental worries!

    Seriously though, people have got to stop getting their worldview from the media. 500 kids a year disappearing (the vast majority at the hands of divorced parents) out of the millions of kids is pretty small when you look at the number who die from such unglamorous fates such as car accidents or fires. People need to maintain perspective.
  • Face it these things are going to be hot. The media ia hyping the SHIT out of child abductions like they are new phenomenon. Truth is they ARE DOWN from recent years! But you local news has decided that this ISSUE needs MORE coverage. Who knows maybe it does....

    Point being you still need to be a parent. You can strap whatever you want on your kid, be it this a leash, a small ferocious otter, what have you, BUT you still have to parent your child.

    Hopefully this will on be a tool not a solution. I don't want soccer mom trucking down Main Street in her 5000lb Ford Leviathan looking at the web page showing her that her kid is next door. I also don't want people to think this is some kid of auto pilot for resposibilty.

    My daughter can't be pregnant! She has a GPS.
  • by austad (22163) on Thursday August 15, 2002 @11:34AM (#4077199) Homepage
    ATT Wireless has this now with their M-mode service. You give friends permission to locate you, and they can just go to "location services" on the phone, and it tells where you're at. It's accurate to within a block.

    Their "find businesses" thing can use it too, so you can find the closest gas station, restaraunt, or strip club.
    • I use it with my wife all the time, we can even set up a place to have Lunch nearby. It even sends you an SMS when your spouse is trying to locate you. It's really cool!

      I love my T68i!

      -Pat

  • Once all Amercians have them, then everyone will be safe and secure.

    Its all 'for the children'...

    yes this is sarcasm.. For those sheep out there that dont have a clue..
  • This thing has been on Slashdot before. And it's still not shipping.

    This thing is suspicious. It's not shipping until September, but they're taking orders, with "4-6 week delivery". That's a bad sign.

    The pricing is terrible. The thing costs more than a cell phone. There's a $340 up-front cost (there's an "activation fee" hidden in there), plus a monthly fee of $25-$50 per month. You can get a good cell phone and cell phone service, maybe even with GPS, for that price. The service is way overpriced, considering that it is basically a 2-way pager.

    It's also on a 1.9GHz PCS network, only. So there's a coverage problem. It doesn't have backup capability to go out to something with broad coverage, like AMPS analog cellular, or something cops have, like Lojak, or, ideally, a satellite.

    It does, though, have the cool "locks on the wrist" feature, with remote unlock, no less. And if you cut the wristband, it calls for help.

    This sounds like a market test. If enough preorders come in, they'll actually make some. Maybe. More likely, some cell phone manufacturer will do this better and take over this niche.

  • by FJ (18034)
    I'll bet Disney & other major theme parks love this. They can buy them by the gross, charge $50 a day and parents can attach them to their kids in case they get lost. It increases safety & makes them money. Everything Disney loves (especially the money part).

    I doubt the average person would poney up $400 when 99.99% of the time there isn't any real concern. I'd be more curious how a 3 year old deals with a device being attached to his/her wrist. Mine would start screaming after a few minutes. He doesn't like paper wristbands from a local amusement park being on his wrist for more than 5 minutes, much less a device which is bulky & he can't remove.

    And for the people who raise privacy concerns, get over it. Kids have no privacy, they never have and never will.

    Before technology parents still spied on their kids. They put a phone in a central location, searched rooms when the kids were not there, watched the odometer on a car to see how far they've been driving. 20 years ago, few kids had a television in their room because parents actually cared what their kids were watching.

    As a parent, the idea isn't to be a friend to your kid. When they are young you protect them. As they get older you give them more freedom. The difficulty is that too much freedom and a kid can hurt themself, too little and they don't learn what they need to survive on their own.

    Sometimes the need to protect & the need to give freedom are very conflicting and, when in doubt, some parents go for the hyper conservative approach.
  • I hope this company has a lot of quadloos to pay the Triskelians for infringing their idea.

    The Gamesters of Triskelion [startrek.com]

    Or maybe the Providers will start selling their collars in the US market.

  • is to use a special GSM sim card return signals to nearest 6 GSM base-stations. The central computer can determine the approx. location of this person within this 6 base-stations.

    The accuracy is only up to ~25M diameter. However it's still good as civilian GPS does not give accurate result due to the fact that US Government deliberately inserting noise in GPS reading for non-military use. (it's THEIR GPS satalites nevertheless. :)

    However, it has several problems:

    1) Special GSM sim must be made
    2) It's very proprietary that different telcos have different implementations of it
    3) The worker can always turn off the phone to hide his location(it can only be solved by firing that insubordinate staff :/)
    4) Last but most important, it does not work on the sea, because there are no base station there. The tracking system will always return the location of the nearest shore.

    If look as if 4) is not a big problem, but don't forget Hong Kong has a pretty big harbour in the middle, and in fact people working on the sea needs this technology badly!
    • Btw, I found that people here thought that Hong Kong's location based system is equals to GPS system. It's in fact a system running on GSM network with special sim card and a normal mobile phone.

      It's more accurate that civilian GPS system as I mentioned above. Besides, Pinpoint relys heavily on the telco providing that services to them. They are only marketing this technology. Besides, they sell security system and GPS too.

For God's sake, stop researching for a while and begin to think!

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