Sniff: Tracking Technology Taken Too Far?

I love high-tech stuff as much as the next guy. Every now and then, though, a new development comes along that makes me think, “Is that really necessary?”

Such is the case with Sniff. The mobile- and Facebook-based tracking system, which becomes available for U.S. use via Sprint’s network today, lets you monitor and map your friends’ location coordinates in real-time. You can get regular updates either via text messaging or via a Sniff Facebook application.

The monitoree, if you will, does have to approve the snooping before it begins, and both users have to be on the Sprint network for it to work. (Users pay a quarter per mobile-based “sniff.” The Facebook app, it appears, is free to use.)

Even with that privacy guard in place, though, I wonder if this might be a case of cool technology being taken too far. I know there are other similar mobile tracking apps out there, and I raise the same question in those cases: Is this a door anyone really wants to open? Do you want your friends, your significant other, or whomever else to hold the ability to request a real-time status of your location, any day, any time?

Sure, you can decline the request — but once the precedent is set that you sometimes allow your location to be “sniffed,” you’ll instantly raise a red flag as to what you’re trying to hide by declining it on any specific occasion.

This type of system just strikes me as a dangerous road to go down when it comes to our privacy. Allowing this sort of tapping into our lives can only lead to complications, and the potential for more extreme invasions in the future. I smell trouble with Sniff, and I hope I’m not the only one.

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