So you may know that Google has a new product called Google Latitude. If you have a compatible cell phone you can install it and give your friends and family the ability to track you on their cell phones or a PC. You need to ask permission to track someone and they have to agree to be tracked. You can even get directions to where your friends are. Sounds kinda cool. I will even give you the link so you can check it out: http://www.google.com/mobile/default/latitude.html
The features include the ability to share your location and privacy settings you can enable and disable should you want to go missing in action for a time period.
I can see where this would be very useful. A real life example: while on vacation in California with friends, one of the friends took our jointly rented car for a day trip. The plan was my friend was going to go shopping on Rodeo Drive. On the way back from said Rodeo Drive shopping trip she got lost and was almost to San Diego. She called from her cell phone very upset asking me how to get back to Anaheim-but wasn’t really sure where she was. The more lost my friend got-the more upset she got and calls to me asking for help became more and more frantic. Eventually she got turned back around and arrived back at the hotel safely. Think how helpful it would have been for me to track her on my cell or PC and give her directions!
For the younger crowd how fun would it be to track your friends at 1AM and show up at the party everyone was at. That sure would have saved me a lot of time in my mid 20s!
Now I am going to take a dark turn……….
What about the jealous husband who sneaks his wife’s phone and installs Google Latitude without her permission and then tracks her somewhere he doesn’t approve of? When he finds her coming out of his best friend’s house he shoots her and it turns out all they were conspiring about was a surprise birthday party for the jealous husband. And for the record it could just as easy be a jealous wife-I am not being sexist here. Anyone who thinks this is an unlikely scenario has never read The Darwin Awards.
Now I am going to make an even darker turn…………to almost pitch black
What about the pedophile that drops a preprogrammed phone in a little kids backpack at the park? And don’t think it won’t happen. Pedophiles are highly motivated to seek out children to harm.
I think we are standing (probably have been for a while) at the top peeking over a very slippery slope.
Now I have a couple of questions:
Why is it that so many people are up in arms that the government can know what books they check out at the library yet are willing to have themselves tracked personally?
Why is Big Brother looking over your shoulder less scary than Google knowing where you are or worse yet a pedophile knowing where your child is?