You can’t have too many toys
Gadgets always have fascinated me, especially those of the space-age variety. As a child, I marveled at Dick Tracy’s two-way wrist TV, and I always thought Batman to be far superior to Superman, primarily because of the Caped Crusader’s utility belt. As the Joker — in a moment of exquisite comedic timing — wondered aloud in the movie “Batman,” “Where does he get those wonderful toys?”
As contributing writer Lynnette Luna reports in this edition, public-safety agencies and enterprises nationwide today are tapping into a plethora of asset-tracking and video surveillance systems that just a year or two ago would have been seen by many as futuristic, dismissed by some as science fiction. And it’s only going to get better, as technology continues to evolve at warp speed.
Just as important, privacy concerns are beginning to diminish. I remember clearly the outcry when enterprise fleet managers first started to install GPS devices in company vehicles. Apparently, workers didn’t like the idea of bosses being able to track their every movement, and some of their unions were fighting to stop the practice.
I thought then, as I do now, that employers have a right to know what their employees are up to during business hours, especially when they’re using company vehicles. It becomes hypercritical when those vehicles are fuel tankers or delivery trucks that easily could be turned into giant bombs by terrorists. Fortunately, as Luna reports, the furor is dying down, as enterprise workers are beginning to look at location-based technology more as a tool to keep them out of trouble and less as an intrusive element in their lives, a shift in mind-set that will accelerate adoption of these vitally important technologies.
When George Orwell’s seminal “1984” first was published in 1949, the idea of the omnipresent, oppressive Big Brother frightened many people. More than a half century later, particularly when viewed through the prism of the events of Sept. 11, 2001, Big Brother doesn’t look quite so bad.