Earlier today AT&T announced the immediate availability of a new service called FamilyMap. Certainly an interesting name, the service will allow parents to find the location of any phones that are on the same FamilyTalk plan.
FamilyMap is free for the first month, and then you have a choice of $9.99/month for up to two lines, and $14.99 for up to five lines.
Originally when first hearing about this service I assumed it was only available for phones that have built-in GPS/aGPS; however, upon further review it is possible to track regular phones that don’t have GPS — it just has to rely on less accurate methods such as triangulation of towers. So it won’t pinpoint exactly where your child is (unless they have a GPS phone), but it will tell you if they are in the vicinity of where they promised you they’d be.
Also featured in FamilyMap is the ability to track lost or stolen phones. Finally! This will be a great feature for countless families who may commonly misplace phones or have phones that are quite expensive.
There has been a lot of controversy regarding the FamilyMap in just its first day of existence. While this is a great resource for parents, advocates of privacy argue that anyone can spy on the other phones in the account without access to AT&T’s OLAM system (all it takes is registering to the specific FamilyMap website), and can check the location of other phones without the people using those phones even knowing. This is only partly true, as AT&T will send periodic text messages to those phones that are being watched.
Personally I feel that this is a much-needed GPS tracking system for parents (as other competitors already offer similar services), and as long as those privacy precautions are put into place, there shouldn’t be any controversy or concern.
Let the discussion begin in our comments below!
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