[LINK] Parents spy on teens by phone
Richard.Chirgwin at informa.com.au
Fri Jan 16 09:13:58 EST 2004
> > Parents spy on teens by phone
> > PARENTS will be able to track their teenagers 24 hours a day using
> > secret bounce-back SMS messages.
> > http://email.news.com.au/ct/click?q=3d-oilNIbzv6XhzaYlvseGpUXZR
A few tiny grains of accuracy in a mostly scrambled story.
I love the use of the absolute in the writing. Parents "will be able to"
track? Not if the service is illegal or vapourware they won't...
1) I can find no "Findafone" service in the UK. There are two UK services
launched so far, Map-A-Mobile and ChildLocate (I have interviewed one,
Map-A-Mobile). Neither is much better than cell-size location. Even then,
the services are only legal with permission.
2) In Australia, cell information can only be passed between carriers for
the purposes of billing and network signalling (and emergency services).
Passing location from Vodafone to Telstra for tracking purposes isn't
permitted. This hasn't changed; because of the News story, I rang the ACA
and discussed the rules. Why didn't News check?
3) Phones can be switched off.
4) Map-A-Mobile (www.mapamobile.com) and ChildLocate (www.childlocate.co.uk)
both derive their data from the networks. So the network rules in the UK
allow a much wider use of location data than is the case in Australia. They
pay the networks to make location queries. Neither of the UK services claim
to be able to get "event triggers" (ie, Elvis is no longer in the Vegas
cell!). This would have to be set up by the network; or the service would
have to constantly "poll" the members' phones.
Map-A-Mobile doesn't run secret queries. Its process is:
SMS Tony to Map-A-Mobile: Find Richard Chirgwin
SMS Map-A-Mobile to Richard Chirgwin: Tony Barry wants to locate you, do you
Reply from Richard Chirgwin: Yes
SMS Map-A-Mobile to Tony Barry: Richard Chirgwin is in the seventh level of
hell. $1 will be debited from your account.
IOW, consent is both "general" (you can only locate other members of the
service) and "specific" (you have to consent to specific location requests).
>From the Map-A-Mobile interview: "The users of locatable mobile phones can
also opt out of the service at any time and they are able to check the names
of the people who can locate them."
ChildLocate seems looser - general consent is sufficient. It costs 10 pounds
per month, more than $200 a year plus transaction charges.
This is getting to be a long post, will end with the local company's
Websites in case any linkers want to do their own research...
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