Sunday, February 8, 2009

Google Latitude Released

CNN Article:

Google Latitude:

Recently, Google has released a new application maintained by their corporation which will allow cellular phone users the ability to send geocordinates to friends and family in order for them to monitor their location at all times. This is done through the use of the same satellite signals used daily to make calls, and does not require any additional fees. Google Inc., already one of the major world-wide cyber corporations, has devoted an entire department to developing an application linking the common users cellular phone to a remote based server that will allow accessed users to track their exact global position. At the moment, this new application works in over 27 countries worldwide.

Although, privacy policies are an obvious concern for many people, Google has remained firm on assuring the public that it is a voluntary program in which the cellular phone and active computer need to both affirm participation before location can be traced. In addition, each user must approve each individual viewer’s permission to access the tracking monitors and can additionally adjust the level of privacy to restrict tracking to display only city or state, rather than the exact location.

However, this new technology being released to the public in turn is not new at all. It has been utilized by governmental organizations, such as the FBI and NSA, for the past few decades in the attempt to keep tabs on suspected terrorists. However, with the prevailing push of technology within society, the need for advancement allows for a wide range of opportunities. Yet as demonstrated through various public policies, the law within the United States concerning privacy and legal issues in regards to cyberspace has not always been consistent and at times can be easily manipulated by loopholes in stare decisis. Furthermore, the ease of a virus to gain simple information from personal computers, such as passwords, would allow unlimited access to large databases of tracking monitors and could potentially allow companies or organizations to monitor individuals whereabouts without their consent.

Yet, even though there are some possible privacy concerns, the main issue is that this release in technology to the public could actual result in a large amount of good. The ability for parents to be able to provide their children with cell phones with limited plans would be less costly but now allow for them to monitor their location from a remote location such as home or work. It would allow them the piece of mind that their child has arrived safely to school or in the case of emergency allow police to easily locate them in an efficient manner. A large portion of the population currently uses cellular technology and the adaptation of such an application without the need to pay for it would take little effort. Large companies, such as Law Firms in New York City, could easily keep tabs on their clients. Small local companies, such as pizza places, would be able to monitor their delivery drivers in order to promote business and give a more accurate delivery time. Even governmental organizations, such as police states or parole officers could monitor their charges in order to more efficiently manage responsibilities. Although it would be necessary for public policy to adapt to prevent problems or abuse of personal privacy as situations arise, the utilization of this free technology could enable a free stimulus to economic corporations, promote safety, and secure an advancement in our technological abilities.

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