Pict WherifoneYou may not be aware of it but Wherify (WFW:OTCBB) is launching the United States release of their much anticipated, GPS locating, Wherifone. The phone includes the world’s smallest GSMenhanced location device. You can already pre-order the phone from Toys R Us and it will be available on October 1st, 2006.

The enhanced E-GPS allows the phone to be located even under dense foliage and many types of wood-frame buildings. They are touting the phone as “a safety solution that “families” and business can rely on.”

Personally, as a father of a young child with another on the way, there are some things I find appealing about using a device like this. For one, it alleviates the idea of having an implant tracker placed into a child! The implant idea really makes me shutter and reminds me of the book by George Orwell, 1984! I’m not ready for it, you’re not ready for it; let’s leave it for the dogs!

The Wherify phone has the ability to have five preprogrammed, easily accessible numbers, dialed by the user and also has a unique S.O.S. button that is set to dial 911. All these features, coupled with the locating device, provide me with a comforting feeling; Knowing that I can locate my child, whenever I want (provided they have the phone near them and it IS charged!), gives me a warm, fussy feeling inside.

But just as soon as I become content that this phone might be a good idea for my family, I am horrified by the thought of someone discovering my secret ID and PIN number through some type of network sniffing device or a key stroke recording program that I am unaware of! Immediately, my thoughts become blackened with the knowledge that an unknown pedophile, or worse- a child murderer, could gain carte blanche access to my child’s every move! This brings a host of unpleasant and frightening thoughts…

I have checked Wherify’s site to help me alleviate some of these crazy thoughts and located some answers in the frequently asked questions section. They mention calming word like: secured sites, personal ID number, PINS and trained staff. All these items must be in place and known to be able to access the GPS locater via the web, giving me some… some, peace of mind.

Despite all my fearful thoughts about this, I imagine that using this product is pretty safe. I’m still not sold though; Wherify’s marketing division isn’t doing a whole lot to sell me, as a parent, with the secureness of their product. In order to find the answers I wanted, I had to dig deep. The answers to these kind of question should be easy to find and conspicuously placed on their site. After all, a child’s safety is a completely different matter than tracking an employee or a truck shipment of fruit.

While I am aware that with the right tools and computer expertise, some people are able to hack into any phone and gain important data, the idea of having a locater that is web- based seems just the tiniest bit more hackable to me (like the time they said those thousands of credit card numbers were safe…) Maybe I’m out in right-field on this one, but nonetheless, I think I’ll wait awhile before I “zero in” and “find” this one as part of my standard child management tools…

           ~J. Pisano

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