Thursday, October 25, 2007


Clearly, one of the next developments in technology and privacy are GPS enabled and other small devices. We've heard about how useful it can be for prisoners, children, and the elderly (not to lump them all together).

Laura M. Holson of CNET address it here.

Holson writes about Loopt, a service by Sprint Nextel. For $2.99 a month, a use can she can see the location of friends who also have the service, represented by dots on a map on the user's phone, with labels identifying their names.

She writes:
"And for teenagers and twentysomethings, who are fond of sharing their comings and goings on the Internet, youth-oriented services like Loopt and Buddy Beacon are a natural next step.

Sam Altman, the 22-year-old co-founder of Loopt, said he came up with the idea in early 2005 when he walked out of a lecture hall at Stanford.

"Two hundred students all pulled out their cell phones, called someone and said, 'Where are you?'" he said. "People want to connect."

"There are massive changes going on in society, particularly among young people who feel comfortable sharing information in a digital society," said Kevin Bankston, a staff lawyer at the Electronic Frontier Foundation based in San Francisco.

"We seem to be getting into a period where people are closely watching each other," he said. "There are privacy risks we haven't begun to grapple with."

For a segment of the younger generation, this may be somewhat compelling.

As the author correctly points out, though, the interesting questions arise when the service is involuntary, or semi-voluntary (Employer-Employee). Who would feel comfortable with anyone, including an employee, knowing where you are at all times?


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