Small Business Reading Room

Monday, October 17, 2005

Innovation, privacy and convenience

The Missouri Department of Transportation is working with a company called Delcan to develop a statewide traffic monitoring system that uses cellphone signal information to track traffic movement.

This company is providing this same service in Maryland already - although without the public access component they envision in Missouri.

This is an amazing technology that unfortunately relies upon tracking your cellphone signal as it moves from cell tower to cell tower. According to ABC News Online:
"Even though its anonymous, it's still ominous," said Daniel Solove, a privacy law professor at George Washington University and author of "The Digital Person." "It troubles me, because it does show this movement toward using a technology to track people."

The convergence of some technological trends (massive electronic storage, Google maps and similar web API's, increased cellphone capability and use) will present us with more privacy challenges as time goes on. How will these challenges be decided? In Congress? In the marketplace? In corporate board rooms?
And, for investors, who will profit most from these developments?


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