Subordinates, or circles of trust?


The New York Times notices, finally, that people are using new technology to tighten their control over their subordinates.

“Earlier that day, he had tracked Britney as she arrived in Grand Central Terminal. Later, calling up the map on his own cellphone screen, he noticed she was in SoHo . ”

“Cellphones would lose their appeal if they became tracking devices,” said Nate Bingham, 16, of Seattle . Bingham’s parents use an AT&T service called Find Friend that lets them see his general location when his cellphone is on, based on the company’s nearest cellular tower.

He said his mother had at times asked him where he was and then used the service to see if he was telling the truth.

While I mostly think this is heading in bad directions – i.e. in directions that encourage an increase of power over subordinates to micro-manage them – I also think that it is interesting that most of us are willing to reveal some personal information to other members of certain groups. For example I am willing to reveal the phone I’d prefered to be reach at to members of my circle of friends and coworkers. I am willing to reveal my billing address to the firms I’m doing business with.

The unbelievable subtle challenge in all this is to create an infrastructure that allows such things to be managed. It’s really messy!

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