Invasion of personal privacy – Big Brother becomes Little Brother

People like to complain about the specter of Big Brother – our government watching our every move, “protecting” us, regulating us, and generally sticking their bureaucratic nose where it doesn’t belong.  With technological advancements, this sort of thing becomes easier to do and more monitoring becomes possible.  The scary part is this is now expanding to little brother: Parents.

I have talked to parents who delight in these newfound abilities to spy on their kids.  Cell-phone GPS tracking can now track your kid (or anyone you have influence over) without their knowledge.  Alerts can be sent to you if they stray outside certain “zones” you can define (such as school, work, etc).  Time-sensitive alerts can be sent if the drone (your kid) is not where they are supposed to be at 10:00 at night for example.  There is now a device you can get from your insurance carrier (currently in beta test) which plugs into the car’s diagnostic port and provides a real-time tracking feed.  You can track speed (is Johnny driving too fast?), you can track all kinds of telemetry data, all of which is subpoena-able in the event of an accident (possibly not in your best interest).

There are other surveillance techniques and technologies like these which enable you to do some very detailed monitoring of your offspring.  So, it’s clear that we can do this and more now!

The burning question is (or should be)… should we do this?  Just because the individual being monitored is your son or daughter, it doesn’t make any difference.  This is a serious invasion of privacy.  I can’t wait for the first lawsuit where some kid sues their parents over this.

One of the key things we need to learn when growing up is responsibility and trust.  This is a two way street.  You learn to trust people, or not, and you learn to be responsible or suffer the consequences.  You also learn about respect.  Respect is not something that you get at birth, it’s something you earn, and must constantly maintain – sort of like a good credit rating.  If we don’t trust our kids, they won’t trust us.  If we don’t respect our kids, they won’t respect us.  If we spy on our kids, perhaps our kids will spy on us.  Do we want to encourage that?

I know if I were a kid growing up today and I found out my parents were doing this to me, they would lose all my respect and trust in a heartbeat, and those are MUCH easier to lose than regain.


One comment on “Invasion of personal privacy – Big Brother becomes Little Brother

  1. Shouldn't every family have their own drone?

    November 27, 2011
    By W.J. Hennigan, Los Angeles Times

    Drone aircraft, best known for their role in hunting and destroying terrorist hide-outs in Afghanistan, may soon be coming to the skies near you.

    Police agencies want drones for air support to spot runaway criminals. Utility companies believe they can help monitor oil, gas and water pipelines. Farmers think drones could aid in spraying their crops with pesticides.

    "It's going to happen," said Dan Elwell, vice president of civil aviation at the Aerospace Industries Assn. "Now it's about figuring out how to safely assimilate the technology into national airspace."

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