For example, you could run NPM update that installs a malicious package that is somehow able to connect to your MySQLD and access all the tables (that contain geolocation information on children) and execute a cronjob to perform a query to backup the .sql data and upload it to a remote server.
There would be 0 consequences legally for such an action (or development would cease to function entirely).
Besides, how is knowingly storing GPS information on children acceptable? They can't consent, so maybe it's time to apply that to things like geolocation as well.
Code has no consequences, because law makers likely don't "get" what that means. You may think it's just $GPSOfALLChildrenInTheDatabase but that variable can cause actual, real harm to humans.
There's totally a disconnect.
The parents consented and the majority of states in the United States consider children property of the parents before they turn 18. It's sad, but normal.
Driving a car that hasn't passed minimal safety and status checks in many European countries is forbidden, why not forbid the use of stupid package managers?
A package manager is just that, a package manager.
Legislate as much as you want over software where live are in dangers, sure. I would be happy to see legislation over software like the one for the Therac-25, but legislation over package manager? Yeah no...
You also want to add minimal safety laws over shoes too?
Sure it depends, which is exactly the point that I meant. A package manager is a use case pretty large.
You wouldn't have the same safety requirement over both shoes and cars, thus the same apply to software.
It's gonna be stupid hard to make a law about "negligent software development" without opening every developer EVER to ridiculous fines and punishment.
Is using C "negligent"?
How about not having test cases?
What about doing "git commits" after 6 PM?
Are only companies liable, or would a developer of an open source project be liable?
Governments move slow. They declare everything must be encrypted with TLS 1.3 -- but now TLS 1.4 is out. How long until they change the standards? What happens when they start to try and influence the standards?
Not the developer, the company willing to ask money for software they sell with their products. If you ask for money then you should take the responsibility.
> Is using C "negligent"?
Yes unless you audit the software you're selling and it proves you have taken precautions.
> How about not having test cases?
Yes. If that's the only thing stopping you from endangering people.
> Governments move slow. They declare everything must be encrypted with TLS 1.3 -- but now TLS 1.4 is out. How long until they change the standards? What happens when they start to try and influence the standards?
Whats your point? That we should let shit software that doesn't take basic precautions just exist because the government is too slow?
We can't make airplanes crash-proof either but certain security additions and safety measures have been made mandatory. Why can't we force the same for software? The fact that a thing hasn't been doesn't mean it can't be done. GDPR isn't the best example but it the very least has some legal recourse to blatant violations of privacy, why not make a law that punishes for blatant violations of security.
I love this.
It's like a vortex of shitty.
One could easily take those statistics as evidence that parents' paranoia is effective, not that the dangers have decreased.
He makes the argument this is why college campuses today are a bit mad, with students unable to deal with speech and ideas they don't like, labeling it as hate speak and calling on condemnation and suppression of free though.
For what its worth, I agree that parents are overprotective to the point that it hurts children's development. I let my kids roam more than most (from what I can gather) but I do live in a fairly safe area.
Adults with dementia or significant cognitive decline who wander and get lost.
There can still be security issues in this situation, but if enough people use it and hack on it, they have a better chance of getting fixed quickly.
The trouble is, this type of setup is a nightmare to implement. Home routers today still make this incredibly difficult. Most people would just get frustrated and prefer something that has a central server, with closed source garbage, that seems to do everything for you.
Plus there's more money to be made if you can collect all that customer data.
I am saying insecure in the sense that there is no doubt that the Chinese government has access to whatever data in TikTok they want. I am admittedly out of my depth on detailed discussions about security but I believe this is basically the situation in China. Maybe you could argue that it is effectively the same in the United States but I'm not sure.
Whether such services would be perverted by the Chinese government is a whole other discussion of course.
However, I don't think anyone but the most rabid sinophobe would accuse the Chinese government of wanting to abduct our children.
For livestock to be a viable market, the monthly subscription would have to go down substantially. In the US, your large market segments are poultry, pork, and cattle. Chickens just aren't worth enough. Hogs are $75-150 live (with thin profit margins) and are a pain to catch, though I'm not familiar with escape rates in commercial operations. Cattle are worth 10x that and do escape occasionally, but they're not terribly difficult to find nor catch.
Perhaps there's a market for tracking hogs for small farms and cattle for commercial grazing operations, but I'd be surprised if tech could do much to disrupt the existing low-cost solution: ear tagging and a phone call when your neighbors/police find a cow on the road.
Lifestock you can typically afford to lose a couple of.
Product managers are more concerned with functionality than other things like scalability or security. My guess is they just never explicitly asked for it.
Any informed person, given the choice, would absolutely want that data going directly from child to parent, with no web service, accounts, analytics, cloud, nothing. And when such a thing finally does hit the market, it's going to be through a vendor/device lock-in, or a supposedly secure silo'd infrastructure, instead of a simple protocol that let's us develop actual P2P applications.
It's really a simple fix, it would kill off a ton of bad companies, or change their economics, and would open up web development to a whole new paradigm. Somebody please...!
I plan to build my own device of this kind for my child, using components I control to a reasonable extent and software that I write and understand. No external services.
I find it somewhat sad that entire categories of devices are off-limits because I don't trust the companies (for good reasons): I have similar plans for home lighting and other home automation, because every commercial device I see is a disaster in terms of security, trust, longevity and reliability.
When I was a kid I had to take the school bus, but there were many kids who were close enough to our elementary school that they could just walk. One year my homeroom class was next to the back gate and a teacher forgot to unlock it, so we got to laugh at like the 15~20 standing there who couldn't get in (an announcement was made to let the walkers in without a later slip).
I wonder if that would even be allowed today. There was an article on here a few months back where a Canadian got into trouble for letting his kids ride the city bus alone (there were three of them; they always rode together and they were carefully taught the routes and how to backtrack if they missed their stop).
Although I disagree with some of the stuff in his book (he likes to blame iGen and play the fake generational gap game), the free-play time stuff is alarming. There is value to handing out with your friends, without parental supervision, without a phone or tracking device, and building that trust that you will come home by x pm.
This tracking of kids and not letting them out; is it mostly an American/Canadian thing? The article mentioned Germans and these tracking watches, but I remember even as late as 2013, I'd often see heaps of school kids waiting for a tram or a city bus in Melbourne on their own. In New Zealand I'd often see primary school kids walking home or taking a city bus if they missed a school bus (which were just city buses with a "school" sign attached to them).
It'd be interesting to see freeplay by country. I kinda do agree with people like Hadith and Sam Harris who suggest kids should only have flip phones until they start high school.
Source: I live a few blocks from the elementary school and have two kids going there. Lots and lots of elementary kids walk to & from school without parents.
I find it ridiculous that people can be arrested/get in trouble in the states for letting their kid sleep in a stroller on the other side of a café window. But that happened recently to a Dane on vacation.
As a side note, I recall watching a documentary about Japanese norms, where the kids are literally taught to be traveling alone in public from a very early age. So this is not just a European thing either.
Otherwise these incredibly insecure devices will continue to be manufactured and sold.
Consumers have no way of knowing if an over-the-counter drug they are buying will complicate their health further: they trust the manufacturer and the FDA to do those checks for them.
Why not have a similar structure for technology? What prevents risky / dangerous over-the-counter medication from being sold, and can we apply those same measures to IoT devices?
Nothing you can do really, the platform (Android) should be responsible for protecting the individual to be honest.
Tried to explain this to my 8-year-old last night as she was fuming about not being allowed to have my old AW. So many reasons, none of them at all valid to a child that age :)
No no no.
My 10 year old child definitely should not have adult-level autonomy.
It is my responsibility as a good parent to train my child by limiting aspects of their life. My children do not have unsupervised access to the internet. They do not have unlimited screen time. They cannot go on social networks and make friends with random people.
It is my job as a parent to not abuse my position as a parent. But I would fail my children greatly if I gave them autonomy over many aspects of their life.
As they prove themselves adept at self-regulation, growing wisdom and good judgement then, and only then, do I grant them more autonomy.
Working with "problematic" kids I came to a few conclusions, all of which I obviously can't know to be correct, but still. The first and foremost was approximately this: One should almost never assume what children can, and can't do. The individual differences seem to be wider than the oceans, and the only way to really know is to teach, trust, and fearless observation.
Most kids will know if you don't trust them, I've seen some 6 years old be "mortally" afraid on an adventure course for kids, as long as their parents were in view. When they could no longer see their parents, their courage grew by the second, and they did their small zipline with the proudest smile one can imagine.
It's quite scary, as a parent, to observe the power we wield. That our fears can directly create fear in our children, even if we try to hide them. These parents were supportive and encouraging, but they had their own fears, fears which they couldn't hide well enough, and the kids knew instantly, and instinctively.
Most parents grant them that autonomy you're talking about way, WAY too slowly. Would you let a 5 year old walk a couple of blocks down to the corner store to buy milk alone? If your answer is no, you're on the "too slow" side of the spectrum in my opinion.
It's pretty easy to gradually ramp up to this and to continue ramping up to more indepdendence at a much faster pace than most parents do.
Imagine you're 5 and you get lost in ikea and get scared to death. Nothing bad will happen because it's ikea, but you'll learn that getting lost is terrifying and you will be a lot less likely to do it again.
Kids need to be safely challenged, or else they won't know how to respond to it when it happens for real. Not having challenges makes kids narcissistic and lowers their empathy. Helicopter parenting is turning our kids into the worse kinds of people.
We've got pretty good systems in place for dealing with kids who are merely lost. Dealing with kids who are abducted is another story, and a tracker definitely helps there. It's a sad reality that we have to worry about that situation still.
Child abduction by a non-parent is exceptionally rare. Each year there are around 200 of them, of which 90% make it home safely. That means that your child's risk of being abducted is about 0.00027%. That's absolutely no basis to justify this awful technology on, and no reason for you to worry as a parent. Not to mention: the abductor could just take your spyware watch off of the kid.
"Of the 647,435 records entered in 2016, the MPC field was utilized in 315,995 (48.8%). When the MPC field was utilized in 2016 entries, 303,237 (96%) were coded as Runaway, 2,107 (.7%) as Abducted by Non-custodial Parent, 303 (.1%) as Abducted by Stranger, and 10,348 (3.3%) as Adult - Federally required entry."
So it looks like one should take the number 303 for "Abducted by Stranger" and perhaps, since only 48.8% of records had this field populated, extrapolate to about 620 cases. Does that sound right, or should it be 200 based on a different reasoning?
Of course, 620 cases is still a pretty small number. I just wanted to understand where your numbers came from. How did you get the figure of 90% making it home safely, and how did you calculate the probability of 0.00027%?
Then I went to the source to verify that the information was there, but didn't re-run my numbers. I apologise, that was lazy and misleading.
Kids are much much more likely to face abuse from a family member or close friend than they are to be abducted. The sheer rareness of Amber Alerts (not to mention their effectiveness) are a good indicator of that fact.
(My youngest turns 4 tomorrow and we've visited IKEAs and theme parks many times without trackers)
Fixed the grammar, thanks.
No need to keep a permanent record of every movement.
I also remember a few times (both as a young, scared small child, and as an older embarrased teenager) losing track of my parents and having the employees call "Will Mrs. Carrotson please come to the service counter" over the intercom...and I hear similar messages when shopping now as an adult.
That said, I'm a lot more fearful of what could happen if my toddler was found by someone other than me in the center of the clothing rack. To be clear, I have little fear of a criminal harming or absconding with my child, I'm much more afraid of what happens when a well-meaning bystander thinks they need to call CPS to make sure that my kid is taken care of.
I do too; except I remember being so scared of being lost that I kept better track of my parent
kzzzt can the parents of the missing child please report to customer service to pick up their child kzzzt
Somebody else losing their kids in an IKEA is no big deal. To the parent of the lost kid, for the duration the kid is missing, it's probaby a big fucking deal.
I personally see the solution as both potentially useful and egregious as implemented. Selling an unaware parent a product with strawman promises that have hidden agendas are not good for anyone. This type of technology will be legitimately useful how many times and at what cost (monetary and privacy)?
If, as a parent, you have a tool that you depend on to fulfill a certain task - then part of the selling point is that it offloads the given task at some level. So... Are you more diligent about keeping tabs on your child with this? Probably not. Instead, most of us have learning experiences from becoming separated from our parents. I'm not sure the gist is for a parent to say to their child: "you have this watch so leave it on and I will be able to find you" - but regardless of how a parent describes the watch to the child I'm sure that's a portion of the root idea. Does this diminish the precedence of the situation before it happens for the child? Potentially. It also gives unknowing consumers false confidence at varied levels all while being illegitimate about the entirety of the "product".
Don't get me wrong, technology is great for many things. However it's oft over used and diminishes from some life skills. I'm overly scrutinizing of technology use in my children's life and err on the side of as little consumption through technology. Creation using technology is what I support. But far too often parents conflate the two and, simply, have no clue the negative impacts they're supporting.
I still wouldn’t put trackers on my kid. And we were never those parents that leashed our kids. But I don’t judge parents that do.
When we went to things like the state fair, I’d write my cell # on my kids palm and gave them instructions: “if you get lost, ask a woman for help.”
It’s still damn scary losing your kid though.
Now should parents monitor every moment of their children's life? No. But they have a duty and responsibility to supervise their children. Children should be given expanding freedoms as they mature, but this (again) needs to be supervised.
Ownership of children is baked into most language. The language reflects the relationships. My child. My mom. My sister. My dog. I wouldn't call that psychological damage but I would call it programming. I also wouldn't call it either right or wrong, it merely is so, and there are consequences that follow. A good deal of that is stability.
Brave New World is but one example of disrupting these units and relationships.
I intend to do this.
I also plan on giving my kids cell phones when they're old enough (School age, is my current assumption), and will ask them to share their locations with me.
To say that parents have no right to infringe on the privacy or personal autonomy of their children is incorrect.
I'm legally responsible for the well being of my kids.
I'm legally required to ensure my child is safe at all times.
This can involve leaving my child with another guardian, but for various reasons I'm not about to trust the school.
I can be sent to prison for a maximum of 2 years and fined $50,000 if I break these laws.
Being absent from my children's lives for 2 years would damage their development.
I can present all this information to my children and ask them to decide if they want me to know where they are at all times.
You could make the argument that they're not mature enough to give me that permission.
You can't be there 24/7, so you should prepare them for when you're not. And if they're prepared, you don't have to be there all the time. This is good for them and good for you.
She still wants her mommy to kiss her knee when she scrapes it, my priority is not teaching her to clean and bandage a wound.
That doesn't address the legal concerns.
There's your problem right there. Community is way eroded these days. Kids have activities scheduled every waking minute, or sit inside on networked games, and neighborhoods are revolving doors.
I found one that's not like that but it was hard. It's not the default state of things like it used to be.
 I actually have no kids.
That some parents make terrible choices is on them, not on society, IMO.
From TFA, I don't read the German ban as being a prohibition on GPS-based tracking, but rather on secretive audio eavesdropping being the problematic functionality.
The the automobile traffic terrifies me. Having the ability to see when she's safely off the road, or if she's stopped in a place that seems like it could be an accident could be the difference between me choosing to afford her all that freedom or not.
Also, I won't ask her to habitually carry any kind of traffic device without giving here equivalent visibility into my movements.
Edit: I'm sorry for the sarcasm, these kinds of products make me very sad.
The damaging effects of that surveillance are similar to that of denied freedom of expression which heavily affects the thinking and development process of humans.
It's not logically sound to support freedom of expression and surveillance at the same time.
And who said humans are logical? But even setting aside the delusional, the superior, and the illogical, the largest group are ignorant or apathetic.
Watched people are not free people.
I'm not sure this is limited to infants, though I realize it isn't an apples-to-apples comparison. People don't realize how they're being tracked by the devices they carry around, or the kinds of data they're willingly giving up. And even if it is explained, it doesn't seem to sink in that there is a wide-open window into their lives through which certain entities can easily peer.
I debate your point that you are not running their future; you're setting up the foundation for both parent and child that this is normal and to be expected. Also the assumption of privacy is tenuous given this experience and all the other terrible IoT implementations that have come to light
Do you know this is true?
Or do you just... "think" it's true?
That is very troubling.
HN view of privacy is quaint. The first cadre of post-911 and FB users must be 35-40 now, and they didn’t care.
I think the mods should leave it pointed to the Hunt article since seems people want to discuss the politics more anyway.