After many years of blogging, and consistent with my desire to move toward retirement, we have ended the Insights blog. Thanks to Doug Bedell for his years of blog support.

Technology Tracking Us Down

Posted on April 29, 2010
Filed Under Technology | Leave a Comment

It’s getting so that technology can follow you anywhere, sometimes with adverse consequences for the follower.

The Lower Merion School District outside Philadelphia, one of Pennsylvania’s, if not the nation’s, finest school districts, is in expensive legal trouble for using LANrev asset-tracking software surreptitiously in hopes of turning up missing school-issued laptop computers. When activated by district personnel, the software took 56,000 or more photos of students in their homes and bedrooms from the webcams on their laptops, unknown to the kids themselves or their parents. When the district allegedly stonewalled on what  its IT people were doing, a couple of parents filed a lawsuit that’s likely to cost the Lower Merion schools a bundle.

Ireland’s Aer Lingus airline isn’t monitoring passengers any more than they’re being scrutinized by security people these days, but it’s turning their seats into onboard, online shopping malls. A news release from GuestLogix, Inc., says that, with a multi-year Aer Lingus deal, it’s now providing its onboard credit-card-propelled shopping service  to “35 percent of global airline passenger traffic.”

There you are, high above the clouds, and the urge strikes to buy a new pair of cufflinks. No problem; a sales device is at hand. (We thought on a recent flight we were asked to keep cell phones and other such electronic equipment turned off, but maybe that was just on takeoff and landing.)

We’re wondering if we’ll come to a point at which society will say, in some manner, “Just because we can do it, doesn’t mean we will do it. That sort of thinking might make some technologist friends jittery, but some of the devices they’re coming up with are making us a little queasy. – Doug Bedell


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