Weblog on the Internet and public policy, journalism, virtual community, and more from David Brake, a Canadian academic, consultant and journalist

Archive forDecember 17th, 2003 | back to home

17 December 2003

An interesting discussion going on at the very insightful “TheFeature”:http://www.thefeature.com/ (which is all about ‘the mobile internet’). It was sparked by an article by “Howard Rheingold”:http://www.rheingold.com/ all about the potential dangers of ubiquitous location-aware devices. Some good points made about the need for sensible default settings (since few people change their defaults) and I pitched in:

Making “off” appear to be the same as “out of network range” is only a social protection as long as the technology doesn’t work reliably. The old phone excuse of “you’re breaking up I’ll call you back” really doesn’t work any more across most of the UK, for example – the network is just too good!

If your boss requires you to be locatable at all times during work hours you may not be able to pretend the technology doesn’t work – so the only protection for the individual against such harassment would be a social taboo against such behaviour – and I don’t think we can guarantee this will happen.

The only way I think this kind of thing can be prevented would be to make it illegal for a workplace to track someone’s location without a strong reason.