tracking people

(Written by Intro to GIS student, S. M.)

The world we live in today is constantly changing. With modernization, an increasing number of technologies are being developed and are being utilized in new ways. The development of technology has increased our ability as humans to understand more about the world in which we live. New geographic information systems (GIS) and geospatial technologies allow users and administrators to have access to enormous amounts of well-organized spatial data. Tracking devices (e.g., GPS) are a type of geospatial technology that have developed recently, and has evolved into something that was unimaginable just a few decades earlier.

Tracking devices stand on a very thin line regarding rights of individuals and consumers. Are these new technological advances are interfering with privacy? There are numerous benefits of such devices. For example, tracking devices implanted in humans can be of great assistance with emergency healthcare. If a patient is found unconscious with no identification information, an implanted device could provide vital information necessary to save their life. Knowledge of a patient’s allergies and health history is incredibly important information, and without this information easily accessible, lives could be put in jeopardy.

Tracking devices have been proven useful in regards to security and theft prevention. About a year ago, $25,000 of stolen oil equipment was recovered thanks to GPS systems. These technologies are useful in many cases and have benefited many users. However, with such great benefits, it’s easy to overlook the potential risks of such technologies. What if this technology ends up in the wrong hands? With every new technology, there’s always a risk involved. The more and more powerful we as human beings become, thanks to our technological advancements, the more vulnerable we are to disaster. Information is powerful, and can be used just as easily to harm people as it can be used for good. I believe that the development of this technology is incredibly useful, but must be monitored closely.

Even if the government has full control over tracking devices, they easily could be used in a negative manner and violate personal privacy rights.

In some cases, judges have granted the requests without requiring the government to demonstrate that there is probable cause to believe that a crime is taking place or that the inquiry will yield evidence of a crime.

Though useful in many cases, such as catching criminals, this technology can very easily cross the line and violate privacy. This technology will likely grow and develop even further with time, and it is therefore necessary to closely monitor its usage to protect the privacy and safety of people.

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