Goldhawk Fights Back: New technologies help protect our families and property

This is a weekly column by Dale Goldhawk, Canada’s best-known consumer advocate. A journalist, author and broadcaster, Dale hosts Goldhawk Fights Back For You, on AM 740 or at AM740 ZoomerRadio, Monday through Friday from 11 am to 1 pm, in the eastern time zone. Visit his website at

A new tracking device
that can both spy on philandering husbands and help protect children is
being sold by Blackline GPS of Calgary. Blackline GPS CEO, Clark Swanson,
tells me sales are growing steadily, year by year.

Says the Blackline
website: “We’re all about enhancing the quality of your life and
peace-of-mind by bringing you products that PROTECT (Blackline’s
emphasis)what is most valuable to you, be they prized possessions like cars
and boats, or even your own family members.”

The satellite-powered trackers
“let you SHARE the locations of those people and things, with family,
friends and co-workers… and CONNECT you with that information and one
another in real time and on demand.

One of my colleagues, columnist Robert
Cribb of The Toronto Star, bought one of these trackers and put it in his
5-year-old daughter’s knapsack.

Now he can watch his daughter on a
computer screen or on his Blackerry, as she walks to school — a little dot
moving along on an electronic map. Cribb is not sure he will continue to
track his daughter.

Even though he acknowledges a certain “creep factor”
with this tracking device, he tells me, quite rightly, that absolutely
nothing trumps the safety and security of his daughter.

But imagine these
scenarios: a suspicious wife plants a tracker in her husband’s car to check
where he’s going and how long he spends there; a curious father plants a
tracker in his car before loaning it to Junior so he can track Junior’s
movement and speed; a cost-conscious boss plants a tracker in a company car
so he can check how often the car stops for coffee and a doughnut; an
estranged husband uses a tracker to follow his abused wife.

Where do we
draw the line in terms of privacy violations?

Jennifer Stoddart, the
Privacy Commissioner for Canada, has just announced a series of public
consultations that are, according to her office, “focused on emerging
technological trends that are likely to have a significant impact on the
privacy of Canadians.”

Right now, the Commission is focused on another kind
of tracking, the online tracking, profiling and targeting of consumers by
marketers and other businesses.

At some point in these consultations,
physical tracking of people, using satellite technology, should also be
given serious consideration.

Photo © John Verner


Goldhawk Fights Back: Protecting privacy in a high tech world

Goldhawk Fights Back: Breaking the contract

Goldhawk Fights Back: Keeping bankers at bay

Dale GoldhawkGemini award nominee, journalist and broadcaster, Dale Goldhawk has earned Canada’s trust by his four decades of work exposing fraud and greed in the marketplace. To read more of his articles, go to (now part of the ZoomerMedia family of websites).

Don’t miss Goldhawk Fights Back , on the New AM740 Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m.