Saturday, January 03, 2009

Advancing Technology; Same Old Human Nature

Technology has afforded us many new avenues to find information. In a lot of ways this is a great thing. How many of us have used the internet to jump start our research? Or myspace to connect with old friends? How many of us rely on caller id to weed out telemarketers and collection agencies? Okay, possibly too much information...

For each leap technology gives us, though, new avenues for abuse are opened up. GPS Tracking, for instance, is a great tool to keep track of your possessions. You can have it installed on your car, so in the event the car is stolen or the person goes missing in their car, it becomes easier to locate in the shortest amount of time. Anyone who watches Law and Order or CSI can tell you that time is essential in these cases. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen news stories about someone’s car being stolen with a small child inside – that makes a great case for having the very best technology can offer to locate the car quickly.

A lot of laptop users install GPS Tracking in their machines. Anyone who has a constant need of their laptop for work, and takes it with them to meetings and various places, knows the danger of getting it stolen. So again, this seems like a great prevention technique. But what about the people who use these things to, say, spy on their loved ones?

If you do a quick search of terms like, “Catch a Cheating Spouse” you’ll find a ton of references to various computer spyware and GPS Tracking systems... You can find everything, from folks desperate enough to hire a hacker to break into someone’s email (I’m pretty sure that one is slightly illegal, folks... and what do you do if there’s nothing incriminating in the email? Seriously, you’ve just given a criminal access to your loved one’s personal information... plus, if it makes you feel kind of stalkerish, it’s because you are...)

These leaps and bounds in technology can be really great, but as always, human nature means that some people will bastardize a good idea for their purposes. The more these programs and tools evolve, the more we have to be aware of what’s out there, and different ways people can take advantage. The problem with these advances is that it makes it possible for people to scam you without you actually doing anything wrong or even being aware.

What do you guys think? Are these advances all good or are there certain things, like tracking someone, that should abide by strict parameters in the law. I mean, aren’t we giving stalkers and abusive spouses a lot of new tools, here? Do you think these are overall good advances or is this generation going to hell in a hand basket? And the most important question, how are you incorporating these new advances into your writing?

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