Saturday, June 28, 2008

GPS Tracking

This GPS tracking technology is like most new such technologies: we can think of the excellent and interesting ways that it can be used and also of ways in which it could be used to reduce our freedoms and liberties.

If GPS technology is used for asset tracking, for example, then we can all see the good sides of it. A company can keep an eye on where its trucks are, or a courier where the packages are. Quite excellent and there's no problems there for anybody: all good and no bad.

However, if GPS technology is used for personal tracking, then it's a little more problematic. Sure, it's nice to know where your teenage children are in the car, but do we really want people to start tracking where their spouses are?

Where GPs technology really becomes problematic is in law enforcement. Yes, sure, we can see the utility of it, being able to trace parolees, or suspects. But there's something that we need to balance with this, our own civil rights. And remember, these aren't to protect criminals at all, they're to protect us from the government.

So it's all something of a mixed bag: as is so often true with a new technology. There's good uses and bad uses possible and we'll not really get sorted out which are which and which we're going to allow people to use for a decade or two.

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