Tuesday, January 20, 2004


I'm becoming accustomed to my new piece of high tech kitchenware and I have to say that sensor reheat has changed my life - you don't have to stir in the middle. One button cooking rocks. It feels like being awakened from suspended culinary animation. I'm getting to really like this fancy nuker, it's twice as fast, the food doesn't spit and the plates don't get too hot. This is technology I'm glad to have.

However, technology I'm not so happy about came up in the news today, Cops Use GPS Device to Nab Texas Fugitive. My recollection was that the courts allowed law enforcement authorities to use this form of interdiction only against terrorists. Apparently not, as this guy was just a run of the mill con man skipping out on a seven year sentence.

DALLAS - Federal marshals were bringing a fugitive con man back to Texas this weekend from Dillon, Mont., where they ended his flight toward the Canadian border.

Finding 64-year-old Bobbie McCoy Burress was easy: They just had the rental company switch on the global positioning device in his rented car.

"They turned on the device and located the guy in Montana," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Arnold Spencer. "If he had made it to Canada, it would have made it much more difficult."

Not more difficult to find him but to extradite him. It's not hard to imagine the current administration using this tactic to track political dissenters as well.

And while we're on the subject of microwave tracking, I been holding this disturbing piece on the new surveillance society, Parents spy on teens by phone. In the tradition of Little Linzy, the drug testing teenager who believes Big Brother should start at home, Patrick O'Neil, youth reporter has more good news for parents who prefer intimidation to conversation.

PARENTS will be able to track their teenagers 24 hours a day using secret bounce-back SMS messages.

Parents using the "text track" technology get a return SMS instantly revealing their child's location. Teens will have no idea when their parents have done a check-up.

In the UK, setting it up costs less than $100.

After setup, for a mere fifty-five cents per check:

Parents can set up a zone around their wayward child's school or banned boyfriend's house. If the teenager leaves or enters the zone, an alarm is triggered and an SMS alert is instantly sent to parents.

Is it just me or does this seem like a bad way to raise kids? Schools bring in cops and dogs to intimidate them from using drugs and parents use electronic leashes instead of teaching them to make responsible choices and trusting them to do it. I'm no Luddite, but it seems to me that not all progress is good.


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