Thursday, August 24, 2006

Kiddie-Leashes: Is This What GPS is For?

GPS-enabled devices (Global Positioning Systems) are huge these days and the technology can be found packaged with everything from SUVs to PSPs.

Before long it will be possible to simply download your Google Earth placemarks to your TREO or CrackBerry (already been done w/ Samsung's Q1 UMPC) and keep your world in your shirt-pocket.

My infatuation with the cool factor of GPS hit a wall when I stumbled upon a Yahoo! Tech post titled: "GPS is Available on Cell Phones for Older Kids, Too."

I know this is nothing new but its shocking that its to the point where the average person apparently isn't even aware of the numerous practical uses of GPS.

(Take, for example, the GPS-arming of pigeons earlier this month in San Francisco. The birds are conducting pollution tests that are instantly registered on this Google Maps mashup via SMS).

With the unveiling of products such as Whereifone (by Wherify Wireless), the entire concept and functionality of GPS-enabled devices is taken out of context. Perhaps my reaction is extreme, but to me these devices represent another exploitation of emerging technology to encourage consumers to buy out of fear and a fabricated need for security.

The Whereifone, or electronic leash, takes little stock in promoting the utilitarian qualities of a GPS-enabled cellphone, instead touting its "homeland security" uses and the ability of THEIR network to help kids not get lost or kidnapped and even if they do, Wherify can trace all evil with its FACES digital facial featuring imaging composite technology.

Now, while your at home cooking dinner, or watching CNN (and hoping you don't know next young , Caucasian runaway or abductee on Nancy Grace), you can always locate your loved ones.

More: The UK-based World-Tracker which was profiled earlier this year in an article in the Guardian titled "How I Stalked My Girlfriend."

If you've gotta tag and track your sig. other, allow me to recommend a deserted island, a well-stocked iPod and a V-Girl -- she'll never leave your shirt-pocket. - Mobile Tracking Devices on Trial
CNET - Big Boss is Watching
LegalAffairs - Your Cell Phone is a Homing Device

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