Thursday, February 09, 2006
News revealed a number of developments in GPS earlier last month. Among these was Verizon Wireless’ decision, reported in Red Herring on Jan. 19, to market to parents a GPS tracking system for them to track their teenagers via cell phones.
Global Positioning System tracking technology will explode as 2006 unfolds. Most people are ready to welcome this technology into their lives. GPS will take the first steps this year toward becoming second nature to us, a must-have just like the phones and other devices that will include GPS technology in them.
The march has already begun. Cars with satellite radio are virtually preconditioned for GPS. Most people with late-model cell phones have the capability to be outfitted with it, and a recent story on CNN’s ‘Headline News” showed how anyone with even an old cell phone can be tracked through simple cell phone tower communication.
Some uses of GPS are logical and offer society benefits that meet little, if any, resistance.
On Jan. 21, The Albuquerque Tribune reported that New Mexico’s Bernalillo County has implemented a GPS program that uses cell phones and ankle bracelets to track repeat violent offenders who might violate restraining orders. According to the article, other counties across the country have adopted similar programs that rely on GPS.
A Jan. 20 report in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer gave information on pending GPS legislation in Washington State. The proposed laws would, according to the article, “mandate GPS monitoring for registered sex offenders across the state and set up a GPS pilot program for homeless sex offenders.” Rep. John Lovick, Democrat for Washington State’s Mill Creek district, has sponsored the bills.
GPS systems are the troublemaker’s worst nightmare. Tracking software does not lie, and the days of teenagers coming home late and making up stories about where they’ve been are nearing an end. And criminals may as well hang up their hats and go home. Their careers are over.
GPS tracking systems won’t need to become popular to gain ubiquity. This is a technology that will spread regardless of whether consumers ask for it. Default marketing via the popular culture will bridge any remaining gaps between fear and acceptance.
In an episode about a teenage daughter going out on a date with a much older young man, “Hogan Knows Best,” a surprisingly real “celebreality” show on VH1, presented the idea of GPS tracking.
GPS can strengthen trust and understanding between parents and their children and between society and law enforcement. And, from a perspective of pure convenience, GPS stands to revolutionize the way we keep tabs on one another.