The Kansas City Star reports on privacy questions surrounding a new location-tracking device from Garmin:
Garmin’s newest device, the GTU 10 personal tracking unit, offers buyers a broad slate of uses — as well as the potential for abuses. […] Instead of telling you where you’re going, Garmin’s GTU 10 tells you where it has been. You attach it to something, or someone, you’d like to keep track of and check for updates using your cell phone, computer or compatible Garmin device.
Clipped to a backpack, it lets parents know their youngster made it to school today. Stashed inside a boat, it alerts the boat’s owner if the craft unexpectedly leaves the slip at the lake. Tucked in the trunk of a car, the device reveals where a teenager actually goes when borrowing the keys.
Like other technology that locates individuals, the GTU 10 device raises questions about privacy and security when it comes to someone’s whereabouts. Namely, is this crossing the line? […]
Location data could reveal, for example, that an employee with a doctor’s appointment had visited an oncologist or a Planned Parenthood facility — information the employee might have preferred to keep private.
Cell phones already allow phone companies to know the device’s whereabouts, and this information is available to law enforcement. Device location information is even mandated for 911 emergency services.
Improper access to that data could create privacy and security problems.
Garmin spokesman Ted Gartner said the location information that the GTU 10 generates comes to Garmin’s computers, where the information is secure and access is password-protected by the consumer. […]
The GTU 10’s small size means it also can generate data showing location without the individual knowing. The device is 3 inches long and weighs 1.7 ounces