Cell Phone Tracking Devices

This is a partial transcript of "The Big Story With John Gibson," April 13, 2006, that has been edited for clarity.

JOHN GIBSON, HOST: Attention parents: Want to know where your children are at all times? Maybe you should buy them a cell phone.

Sprint is turning its mobile phones into tracking devices. A parent only needs Internet access to be able to locate the young ones. That idea may be getting a better response from adults than kids.

So how did they come up with this? Joining us now is Sprint's director of product marketing, Alana Muller.

So what you've done is, what? Stick a GPS in the cell phone?

ALANA MULLER, SPRINT: So what we've done is, essentially, Sprint Family Locater is a service utilizing the Sprint's market-leading GPS infrastructure to enable a parent to pinpoint the location of his or her child. Once the child's location is identified, the parent can quickly connect with the child either by text message or by voice call.

GIBSON: Now when you say locate the child, you mean locate the phone?

MULLER: Correct.

GIBSON: As long as the kid has the phone in his or her own pocket or purse or backpack, you know where the child is, correct?

MULLER: That's right. Essentially what we're trying to do is enable a parent and child really to open dialogue, open lines of communication and really to have the peace of mind to know where the child is.

GIBSON: OK. We know parents like this. Do you have any information that tells you what kids think of this?

MULLER: You know, we do. We've conducted a bit of research to understand would parent and child alike enjoy this service. And, surprisingly, you know, kids also like to know that their parents know where they are.

So, again, opening lines of communication, making sure that they're able to communicate with each other and in a way that's truly non-invasive. The parent and child can decide up front how they're going to utilize the service, whether the parent is going to then communicate via text message or by voice call.

GIBSON: Alana, nice try. It is Big Brother. I mean, the parents are able to see — I mean, come on. It wasn't that long ago that you were a teenager. Did you want your parents to know exactly where you were?

MULLER: You know, I honestly disagree. I think the fact that we've set this up to be permission-based, the service itself is password protected, the child knows when the parent has located him or her.

GIBSON: Oh they do? They get a little alarm?

MULLER: They do. As soon as the parent locates the child, the child gets a text message. And, again, assuming that...

GIBSON: What does it say, busted?

MULLER: ... the child and parent establish lines of communication up front and identify how they're going to use the service, we believe that it's really peace of mind.

GIBSON: OK now, what happens if the kid turns the phone off?

MULLER: Then, at that point, the service is disabled.

GIBSON: OK, Alana Muller. See, they'll figure out a way to get around this, Alana. Appreciate it. Sprint's director of product marketing, you can now find your kid using their phone. Thanks a lot, Alana.

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