To Track or not to Track ?

5 Mar

After declining a couple of tasks to write sponsored reviews, I finally decided to accept another. The reason is that because this one is a particularly inviting, even controversial, topic for me. In the process, it will even allow me to me to write not so much as a sponsored review as a blog post of my own; – for I clearly engaged in some personal deliberations in thinking about this post.

OK. Enough of that. It’s about GPS. While the acronym itself stands for Global Positioning System, a GPS tracking unit is :

“is a device that uses the Global Positioning System to determine the precise location of a vehicle, person, or other asset to which it is attached and to record the position of the asset at regular intervals. The recorded location data can be stored within the tracking unit, or it may be transmitted to a central location data base, or internet-connected computer, using a cellular (GPRS), radio, or satellite modem embedded in the unit.” – taken from Wikipedia

Of course, a lot can be discussed on how is one going to use such tracking unit for positive ends, like crime tracking, package delivery tracking or fleet tracking. However, I started to feel uneasy when I was pondering about personal tracking. You know, it’s the kind you use to track down your kids, or even the whereabouts or your spouse if you feel that she’s cheating on you. For clearly it will be just as easy, – if not easier, to implement a tracking system to your loved ones as to utilize it for your business.

The implication of personal tracking is then inevitably points to the issue of personal privacy and ethics. How far could you go in tracking the whereabouts of someone else, – and thus infer what she does on a regular basis ? In the USA, for example, the use of GPS trackers by police requires a search warrant in some circumstances, but use by a private citizen does not. He / she can easily cite the Fourth Amendment as his basis to do so. But other laws, like the common law invasion of privacy, potentially cover the use of GPS tracking devices by private citizens without consent of the individual being so tracked.

Regulations aside, I feel that the answer to this problematic issue should lie in the personal level. There is no correct or wrong answer here. Rather, you need to be honest to yourself and see to it that you really need to track your loved one because you need to, and not only to satisfy your own trivial personal curiosity. Take the kids for example. If you live in a neighborhood rampant with crime, it is a good idea to use a tracking system just to anticipate possible kidnapping dangers. In this case, you’re not only doing the right thing, but you also are helping the police and yourselves should such thing happens.

But how about tracking your spouse ? This is exactly what I was talking about when I said that you need to be honest to yourself. You may or may not be justified to do so. If he / she is in danger, then by all means go ahead with it. But if you’re doing it to check whether he / she is cheating on you, you then need to proceed carefully and ponder all the possible implications beforehand. You wouldn’t want the scenario to backfire and ruin your relationship further.

In the end, as with other beneficial technology inventions, GPS tracking could also be used for malevolent purpose. It is us, the user, who determines what course are we using our technology to head into. As somebody once observed, it is the singer, not the song.

Disclosure : This post is a sponsored work brought to you by our mutual friends at LightningGPS.

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