LG’s child-tracking wristband is a dangerous step towards normalising surveillance

LG’s new child-tracking Android wristband promises increased safety for its young wearers and peace of mind for their parents, but it could be more suited to Big Brother.

The device, called Kizon, uses location services and wi-fi to map a child’s location. This information is reported to an Android app that parents can use to track their child’s every move.

While this tracking system might seem sufficiently overbearing to some people, Kizon’s surveillance does not stop there.

The watch is equipped with a single button that the child can use to call a parent or answer incoming calls from parent-approved numbers. However, if little Johnny doesn’t answer his mother’s call within ten seconds, the device automatically connects the caller to a built-in microphone, enabling the parent to listen in on the child’s conversations and activities.

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Kizon’s battery lasts 36 hours between charges and notifies parents when it dips below 25% battery, allowing them to remind their son or daughter to recharge the device before it runs out of power.

The Kizon wristband comes in pink, blue or green and is decorated with hearts or automobiles, giving it the appearance of a fun, kid-friendly accessory. But will children appreciate, or even benefit from, the lack of privacy that Kizon entails?

For some kids, continuous surveillance from parents could cause dependency or paranoia. Perhaps worse, children could become accustomed to constantly being watched. The idea of a generation of young people who are not bothered by this kind of tracking and eavesdropping is unsettling.

Parents who equip their children with Kizon will undoubtedly have the best of intentions, and the device could be helpful in some situations. Children will be able to play and explore outside the home without their parents worrying about their location, which may give them more freedom.

However, widespread use of Kizon-like devices could result in the implementation of similar surveillance technology for other aspects of society.

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Indeed, Kizon is also being marketed for the elderly as a way for caretakers to monitor their health and whereabouts remotely. Again, this application could be beneficial to users, allowing the elderly to receive quick help or treatment in crisis situations. But with the oldest and the youngest in our society set for such tracking, the spread of surveillance does not seem so unlikely, and more dubious applications could develop.

The initial use of Kizon certainly does not spell doom for our society, but disguised in its pink hearts and blue automobiles is the potential for the dystopian future we read about and guard ourselves against.

Kizon will be available for purchase in the US and Europe in September. Snatch one up if child surveillance appeals to you.


DJI’s First Drone Arena in Tokyo to Open This Saturday

Consumer drone giant DJI will open its first Japanese drone arena in the city of Tokyo this Saturday, providing a space for both hardened professionals and curious newcomers to hone their flying skills.

The arena, which covers an area of 535 square metres, will not only include a large flying area complete with obstacles, but also offer a store where visitors can purchase the latest DJI drones and a technical support area where drone owners can get help with quadcopter issues.

The hope is that the arena will allow those who are curious about the technology but currently lack the space to try it out to get involved.

“As interest around our aerial technology continues to grow, the DJI Arena concept is a new way for us to engage not just hobbyists but also those considering this technology for their work or just for the thrill of flying,” said Moon Tae-Hyun, DJI’s director of brand management and operations.

“Having the opportunity to get behind the remote controller and trying out the technology first hand can enrich the customer experience. When people understand how it works or how easy it is to fly, they will discover what this technology can do for them and see a whole new world of possibilities.”

Images courtesy of DJI

In addition to its general sessions, which will allow members of the public to drop by and try their hand at flying drones, the arena will also offer private hire, including corporate events. For some companies, then, drone flying could become the new golf.

There will also be regular events, allowing pros to compete against one another, and drone training, in the form of DJI’s New Pilot Experience Program, for newcomers.

The arena has been launched in partnership with Japan Circuit, a developer of connected technologies, including drones.

“We are extremely excited to partner with DJI to launch the first DJI Arena in Japan,” said Tetsuhiro Sakai, CEO of Japan Circuit.

“Whether you are a skilled drone pilot or someone looking for their first drone, we welcome everyone to come and learn, experience it for themselves, and have fun. The new DJI Arena will not only serve as a gathering place for drone enthusiasts but also help us reach new customers and anyone interested in learning about this incredible technology.”

The arena is the second of its kind to be launched by DJI, with the first located in Yongin, South Korea, and detailed in the video above. .

Having opened in 2016, the area has attracted visitors from around the world, demonstrating serious demand for this type of entertainment space.

If the Tokyo launch goes well, it’s likely DJI will look at rolling out its arena concept to other cities, perhaps even bringing the model to the US and Europe.

For now, however, those who are interested can book time at the Tokyo arena here.

Commercial Human Spaceflight Advances Prompt Calls for Space Safety Institute

Commercial human spaceflight has been a long-held dream, but now it is finally poised to become a reality. Companies including Virgin Galactic and SpaceX are inching ever closer to taking private citizens into space, and there are serious plans for spaceports in several parts of the world, including Hawaii, the US, and Scotland, the UK.

But while the industry is advancing, the legal side of this fledgling commercial space industry remains underdeveloped, leading to calls for the development of an organisation to establish a framework for the safe operation of spaceports for human commercial spaceflights.

Writing in the journal New Space, Mclee Kerolle, from the United States International Institute of Space Law in Paris, France, has proposed the establishment of a Space Safety Institute recognised by the US congress and the United Nations.

This institute would “develop, enforce and adopt standards of excellence”, allowing the industry to develop while protecting it from liability and insurance risks.

“Currently, no international regulatory body exists to regulate the operation of spaceports,” he wrote. “This is unfortunate because while the advent of commercial human spaceflight industry is imminent, a majority of the focus from the legal community will be on regulating spaceflights and space access vehicles.

“However, the regulation of spaceports should be viewed in the same light as the rest of the commercial human spaceflight industry.”

The article focuses particularly on the establishment of a spaceport at the Kona International Airport in Keahole, Hawaii. At present, the spaceport’s development is subject to regulation by the Federal Aviation Authority, however there are aspects to spaceport development that do not apply to conventional aviation operations.

A spacesuit design for commercial flights developed by SpaceX. Featured image: SpaceX’s proposed spaceport for its conceptual interplanetary transport system. All images courtesy of SpaceX

The institute would be designed to first and foremost ensure safety within the industry, so it would be important, according to Kerolle, to ensure it was made up of individuals with expertise in the field, rather than bureaucrats.

“To make sure that this flexibility is inherent in a Space Safety Institute, the organization should be composed of individuals within the industry as opposed to government officials who are not familiar with the commercial human spaceflight industry,” he wrote.

“As a result, this should protect the commercial human spaceflight industry to some liability exposure, as well as promote growth in the industry to ensure the industry’s survival.”