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Privacy

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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  • by theRhinoceros (201323) on Thursday August 15, 2002 @08:49AM (#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.
  • Re: I get it... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Ian Wolf (171633) on Thursday August 15, 2002 @08:49AM (#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.
  • 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.
  • Chldren != people (Score:2, Insightful)

    by LAI (166400) on Thursday August 15, 2002 @09:05AM (#4076489) Homepage
    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.
  • Re: I get it... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Ian Wolf (171633) on Thursday August 15, 2002 @09:40AM (#4076748) Homepage
    Just for the record, kids have always been snatched up by sick and twisted individuals. It's just that within the last six months it's suddenly become "en vogue" to broadcast it on the six oclock news once again since there's apparently nothing better going on in the world.

    Whether or not its being reported more or less, doesn't detract from the fact that there is a problem. And many of the cases reported recently were such big stories because of the audacity with which the crimes were staged. Some of the more recent stories, I will readily admit were more hysteria driven, like the shark attack stories last year. In many of those cases, this device would not have been of much help, except maybe the little girl in Philly, who fortunately got away in the end anyways.

    Kids have been kidnapped for decades, and they always will be, sometimes from the most caring and protective of households, I'm not debating that, I'm saying that any device with claims to 'assist' the situation is only going to make it worse, as it takes yet another responsibility off the parental units.

    I'm not saying that this tool is going to eliminate adbuctions. I am not saying that this device should be used as a form of babysitter for bad parents, because the truth is bad parents are going to be bad parents with or without this device. At the risk of sounding like some politician :) , its the children I'm concerned about. If this device can save the lives of a handful of children who would otherwise be dead, then the tool can hardly be making the situation worse.

    Stopping kids from getting hurt is all well and good, having one of these is fine, as long as you don't for a second let yourself be disillisioned into thinking that it's really anything other then a "Toy" that your kid will undoubtly take apart to tinker with, trade to a friend for some baseball cards, or leave at home on the dresser on a regular basis. Not to mention that they'll never carry it anywhere once they get old enough to realize that "Mom and Dad know where I'm at when I've got this thing with me!" I guess I should have explained myself better in my original post... not all parents are bad parents, and not eveyrone who'd buy one of these is going to be an idiot about it.. but I'm just so tired and sick of watching people these days find new ways to pawn their responsibility off onto others and/or gadgest...

    I agree with you completely, but the important thing is this device is no different than a car seat. If Joe Idiot wants to put a rear-facing seat facing forward, or any seat in the front passenger seat, then they have just graduated to the class of BAD parent. But, just because some idiot should have gotten a vasectomy at age 13, doesnt mean we should not bother with them.

If it happens once, it's a bug. If it happens twice, it's a feature. If it happens more than twice, it's a design philosophy.

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