T-Mobile touts US teen tracker

Parental paranoia palliative motion-monitoring app for less dicey driving


T-Mobile USA is offering to prevent teens texting while driving for only $5 a month, and track their movements for free, as long as they have an Android handset.

DriveSmart Plus comes from Location Labs, which also provides FamilyWhere for those who want their offspring's movements plotted on a convenient map.

DriveSmart kicks in when the GPS system reports the phone is moving, prevents text messages being sent and redirects all calls, with an override button that reports back to mom and dad for later explanation.

The more astute reader will have noticed a flaw in this plan: teens travelling on buses or trains will be equally cut off, but we have to assume that American kids rich enough to have Android phones would never stoop to travelling on public transport.

According to the Location Labs video, delightfully presented from the back seat while not wearing a seatbelt, 20 per cent of (US) car accidents "involve some type of distraction" which worries us slightly - the other 80 per cent are presumably concentrating fiercely as they plough into each other?

Location Labs makes some play of its ability to integrate with operator infrastructure to pull location data from the network, for the delivery of targeted advertising and such, though today's offerings both make use of the GPS capability of Android handsets which is easier to implement but limits the audience.

For DriveSmart Plus the offering is limited to the LG Optimus T handset, though others are reportedly in the pipeline. Anyone who uses public transport would obviously find the application irritating and useless, but if you're the kind of parent who doesn't trust your kids not to text and drive, or wants to track them 24/7, then you're probably not going to let them on a bus either. ®

Broader topics


Other stories you might like

  • AMD claims its GPUs beat Nvidia on performance per dollar
    * Terms, conditions, hardware specs and software may vary – a lot

    As a slowdown in PC sales brings down prices for graphics cards, AMD is hoping to win over the market's remaining buyers with a bold, new claim that its latest Radeon cards provide better performance for the dollar than Nvidia's most recent GeForce cards.

    In an image tweeted Monday by AMD's top gaming executive, the chip designer claims its lineup of Radeon RX 6000 cards provide better performance per dollar than competing ones from Nvidia, with all but two of the ten cards listed offering advantages in the double-digit percentages. AMD also claims to provide better performance for the power required by each card in all but two of the cards.

    Continue reading
  • Google opens the pod doors on Bay View campus
    A futuristic design won't make people want to come back – just ask Apple

    After nearly a decade of planning and five years of construction, Google is cutting the ribbon on its Bay View campus, the first that Google itself designed.

    The Bay View campus in Mountain View – slated to open this week – consists of two office buildings (one of which, Charleston East, is still under construction), 20 acres of open space, a 1,000-person event center and 240 short-term accommodations for Google employees. The search giant said the buildings at Bay View total 1.1 million square feet. For reference, that's less than half the size of Apple's spaceship. 

    The roofs on the two main buildings, which look like pavilions roofed in sails, were designed that way for a purpose: They're a network of 90,000 scale-like solar panels nicknamed "dragonscales" for their layout and shimmer. By scaling the tiles, Google said the design minimises damage from wind, rain and snow, and the sloped pavilion-like roof improves solar capture by adding additional curves in the roof. 

    Continue reading
  • Pentester pops open Tesla Model 3 using low-cost Bluetooth module
    Anything that uses proximity-based BLE is vulnerable, claim researchers

    Tesla Model 3 and Y owners, beware: the passive entry feature on your vehicle could potentially be hoodwinked by a relay attack, leading to the theft of the flash motor.

    Discovered and demonstrated by researchers at NCC Group, the technique involves relaying the Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) signals from a smartphone that has been paired with a Tesla back to the vehicle. Far from simply unlocking the door, this hack lets a miscreant start the car and drive away, too.

    Essentially, what happens is this: the paired smartphone should be physically close by the Tesla to unlock it. NCC's technique involves one gadget near the paired phone, and another gadget near the car. The phone-side gadget relays signals from the phone to the car-side gadget, which forwards them to the vehicle to unlock and start it. This shouldn't normally happen because the phone and car are so far apart. The car has a defense mechanism – based on measuring transmission latency to detect that a paired device is too far away – that ideally prevents relayed signals from working, though this can be defeated by simply cutting the latency of the relay process.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022