As many Americans know, a number of technology companies have, in recent years, developed and marketed wearable devices that can keep track of you and your bodily systems, where you go, the monitoring of your heart rate, etc. Some such wearable wrist devices can even deliver email.
But many privacy advocates wonder if too many of us are unwittingly surrendering what precious little privacy we have left in the digital age. And they also wonder if there isn’t some sort of warped conspiracy to “normalize” tracking of our every movement.
And they wonder if we’re not surrendering our children to some future master “tracker.” As reported by The Washington Post:
Various tech companies have introduced wearable devices over the last few years that track your steps or heartbeat and even deliver your e-mails to your wrist.
Is electronically tracking your kid the next frontier?
LG announced a new device [recently], the KizON wristband, designed to let parents keep track of their child’s whereabouts. The KizON uses GPS, WiFi and mobile Internet signals to identify the user’s location in real time and sends the information to an Android app.
Bar codes, trackers, microphones
The paper, quoting an LG news release, said the device was designed for families of preschool and primary school children and, in addition to a location-tracking feature, parents will be able to communicate directly with their children through a “One Step Direct Call” button that is located on the device.
Now, if the child does not respond to a parent’s call, within 10 seconds KizON automatically connects parents anyway, permitting them to listen into what is going on with the child through a built-in microphone.
KMS, a British firm, introduced a similar device for tracking children in January 2013, the Post reported. That device includes a GPS chip to assist parents in actually locating their kids. Also, there is a bar code on the device’s band that contains encoded information about the wearer, like his or her blood type, any allergies that they may have, and emergency contact information and phone numbers.
But as expected, this technology is raising concerns among privacy advocates and others who worry that they are too invasive and are breaches of children’s privacy. More than that, though, some say the devices will make such tracking seem normal to children, and with a dumbed-down public education system that focuses little on civics and the Constitution, that’s a problem for future generations.
“The majority of these kid-orientated wearables bear a striking resemblance to the tagging devices used to track convicted criminals on partial release back into the population,” Samuel Gibbs, The Guardian’s technology reporter, said in a recent column. “They come packing a GPS sensor to constantly report their location, a thick band that’s difficult to remove and an integrated mobile phone that cannot be silenced.”
Your children and their privacy
Gibbs went on to write:
Now that even consumer electronics brand LG has its own KizON tracker, parents could soon have the tools to keep tabs on their offspring 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Of course knowing where they are doesn’t always equate to actually keeping them safe.
“New technology has a way of throwing up parenting conundrums that get right to the heart of the line between being responsible for your children and invading their privacy,” Justine Roberts, founder of the Mumsnet blogging network — a web platform for parents to share advice and experience — told the BBC recently in an interview.
The LG device made its public debut for consumers in South Korea July 10; it is expected to reach North American and European markets later this year.
daily alternative | alternative news – Tech companies roll out wearable child tracking devices