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Big Brother. He’s Here. His name is Technology.

As we move further into the 21st century, one has to marvel as to how communication technology has changed our everyday lives and become such a focal point in day-to-day activities. It wasn’t long ago that it was rare for someone to have a cellular phone in the car. Today, it is rare for someone not to have a cell phone in his or her hand. Moreover, that cell phone (as small and slim as it has become) is a powerful tool. A “Smart Phone”; capable of checking your favorite teams box scores, making real time stock trades, or even allowing one to adjust the thermostat in their home. Most agree we wouldn’t give up these modern conveniences, but what about technological advances as they relate to security of people and property? Have those technological advances become too Orwellian?

Last week, the Today© show featured a story on a new technology that is slowly being used on school buses across the country. School districts that have adopted this technology assign students a unique ID embedded in a card (similar to a luggage tag) that is scanned when a child gets on or off a bus. It’s the latest technology designed to protect children and reassure parents that their child has arrived home safely or is at a specific and known location. About 5 percent of the 490,000 school buses that transport kids across the country are believed to use the student tracking technology, according to the National Association for Pupil Transportation. Many agree this may be too much “Big Brother”. Some have even posted a response that this is the “New World Order” and object to its use.  But in these days when both parents are working, and concerned enough to verify their child’s physical location, is this not something that could prove helpful, or has technology gone too far?

As Private Investigators and Security Consultants, we are constantly utilizing technology in ways that help protect people and property. Standard Safety and Security protocol and procedures require some degree of abrogation of our liberties and subject us to the inconvenient processes of providing identification; submitting to metal detection examination, inspection of personal articles, pat-downs, or scan imaging, etc. The discipline always entails some inconvenience to be effective.  The degree of our consent should be based on our individual tolerance for acceptance of these new technologies in our belief that in doing so, we are participating in a process that will enhance our collective safety and security. While there are opportunities to abuse these technologies, the intended usage and benefits of the described system will provide school and transportation officials with real time tracking to insure safe collection and delivery of students and give parents the added benefit of insuring their son or daughter is safe and secure. This is one case where Big Brother is truly acting like one.

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