TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Selling Surveillance to Anxious Parents

Selling Surveillance to Anxious Parents

Monty Solomon (
Wed, 14 Jun 2006 23:24:13 -0400

Big Brother
Selling Surveillance to Anxious Parents

The New York Times
May 3, 2006

KEVIN REYNOLDS, a real estate appraiser and father of two, is
confronting a quandary: should he put his daughters under electronic

It's a question more parents will face in the next months, thanks to
new technology that lets them use cellphones to monitor their
children's location.

Next month, Verizon Wireless plans to introduce a child-monitoring
service, joining Sprint Nextel and Disney Mobile, which started
similar services this spring. Cingular is working on the concept, too.

The systems track cellphones by satellite, allowing parents to look on
the Internet to make sure their children arrived safely, say, at
school or at a friend's house.

"If you don't do it and something happens to your kids, how would you
feel?" said Mr. Reynolds, 49, contemplating giving such phones to his
daughters, ages 4 and 8. But he is also wary of being overly

"It's Big Brother on a kid's level," he said. "What's it like to live
in a world where everybody has a device that tracks where we are?"

We may soon find out. Several new programs for consumers use
cellphones to tell us -- and our parents and employers, not to mention
advertisers -- where we are, how fast we're moving, what direction
we're moving in and how close we happen to be to restaurants, movie
theaters, banks and other businesses.

Soon our cellphones will locate, record and even herald us with
digital precision: "You are here."

These location-based services take advantage of technology built into
dozens of the newest phones. It can instantaneously identify a phone's
location by using satellites and the Global Positioning System, or by
determining the location of the cell tower connected to the phone.

Post Followup Article Use your browser's quoting feature to quote article into reply
Go to Next message: Monty Solomon: "Renting Movies With a Box and a Beam"
Go to Previous message: Monty Solomon: "What Netflix Could Teach Hollywood"
TELECOM Digest: Home Page