IN PAST COCKPITS where I worked (proof at left), everything audible was recorded in 30-minute loops. As time went on, the loops got longer so before I logged my 3000th flight hour, even my Atlantic crossings were taped, top to tail. Everyone knew that all they said in the cockpit went onto the voice recorder. It was part of the workplace. In my current workplace, most people object to surreptitious recordings. Fair enough, casual conversation rarely evolves into matters affecting national security and most snippets captured in crowds have nothing to do with public safety. So, I wonder if readers object to their friends carrying location tracking and audio recording devices now that they're as easily acquired over the counter?
In Ireland, Locate Mobile SOS is available as an add-on to your existing mobile phone and increases its function as a panic and time based alarm. Two pre-designated people are alerted if the mobile user does not arrive at a destination at an pre-determined time. As press coverage notes, "by pushing a speed dial button on their phone, users can discreetly raise an alarm if confronted with a threatening situation. The service works across all networks and on all mobile phones." This is a pocket-sized service with more potent situation recording awareness than the highly efficient Sony digital dictaphone that I carry inside my shirt pocket.
Any objections from the listened-to public?
You see, you don't have to be in a panic to use the service. A Flash Mob of activists could swarm a barricade of police protection at a protest site and the entire jostling experience would be recorded and upstreamed to a GPS map where those with public access could hear and see the on-scene interactions. The service sells as "a panic alarm and an alert can be issued to two designated people to inform them of the user's plight. Additionally, the location of the phone can be accurately pinpointed on the TopLocate web based mapping service."
Now, I work with people who choke on their coffee when they see a red light on my recording equipment. I have effectively cleared a path around serving areas when walking with a microphone outstretched in front of me. (The mic doesn't have to be on for the crowd to part and offer a clear shot to the bar.)
Has the listened-to public considered the privacy impact of scores of people be wired for blanket coverage of a venue, an opening, a political speech or just a shopping experience? There's certainly value in the concept. Services range in cost from EUR 195 (plus VAT) per annum. Interested? Check out more below the fold.
Top Locate or Top Security can connect you. Your security means our surveillance.
Pause. Digital Rights Ireland offers breath-taking considerations of a society wired for monitoring. And remember, once you become a recording platform stored on a commercial service, your Minister for Justice can access your tracking details. His authority extends beyond the Share and Share Alike Creative Commons licence because the Minister doesn't populate the Creative Commons. He just takes what he needs when it's there for the asking.
Gordon Smith -- "Personal Safety Phone Unveiled"