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AT&T FamilyMap: Stalk People for $15/Month

Sometimes a service or piece of technology comes along that really makes us wonder what the world is coming to. AT&T’s FamilyMap is one such service.

The company recently launched an add-on designed to let parents check up on their sprog’s whereabouts. Basically it’s a location tracker that allows parents (via PC or phone) to request location updates from a device on their plan at any given time. It can also be programmed to receive scheduled updates for after school activities or arrival times. AT&T is, of course, pushing this as a way for you to grant your kids the independence they so desperately fight for, every hour of the day, and at the same time, grant yourself peace of mind.

Alright, so where to start? Yes, handy to know where your kids are, who they’re with, what they’re doing. You know what else is sort of nice? Trust. The sticky issue of parents, children and trust aside, the service is available for up to five devices you have under your plan. How many customers would be tempted to check up on their husbands or wives with this little tool? A lot, we’re guessing. There’s that pesky trust, again.

Forgetting all that for a second, BoyGeniusReport discovered a bigger cuse for concern. Having subscribed to the program, the lads detailed that the service is supposed to send a text message to the device that’s being tracked. Basically, you’ll know when you’re about to be caught out as opposed to finding out when you arrive home. However, this was not necessarily the case. “Besides the first notification text message alerting that subscriber they are being tracked, everything else is completely silent. For instance, we signed up and were able to track both an iPhone 3G and a Bold completely without any visible indication. No text message, nothing,” reports BGR. Boy Genius goes on to say that the technology not only uses cell tower triangulation, it actually can activate the GPS chip. Creepy.

Hands up who’s interested?