The former head of MI6 has warned parents that paedophile predators are capable of using location-based services to find and abuse their kids.
In a warning that might sound a bit rich coming from a former chief spook, Sir John Scarlett said he was worried about how easily a youngster's movements could be traced.
Young girls are "obviously vulnerable to tracking,” he claimed, with perverts or private enterprises able to track their quarry "right down to more or less precisely where you are”.
“Personally what worries me, in a way, most, is tracking devices," he said. "The way in which locational apps, for example, are now quite freely available - of course, you can start off by consciously giving out that information, but once you’ve done that, you’ve lost control of it.
“There is a need for everyone to be aware that once information is shared online, for example through using a search engine, it can be used by different firms.“
The super spook claimed that paedophiles could pinpoint a child's whereabouts by opening up an online conversation.
“It’s the tracking, and obviously if you get into conversations, I don’t really see how that can be controlled unless you have some idea of what your child’s doing.”
Sir John Scarlett is known for his role in drawing up the dodgy dossier which led the UK to war in Iraq, which hardly sits comfortably with his self-appointed role as the guardian of the nation's chaste youth.
So should we worry about the government spying on us? Scarlett's answer is perhaps predictable.
“I think we’re worrying in a way about the wrong thing. Potentially that capability for mass and uncontrolled snooping is clearly there. Technically it can be done.
“But we are a law-based state operating very tightly within a legal framework and a cultural environment and that is where your protection must lie.”
That's okay, then. Sleep tight kids. ®