AT&T’s new software is a parent trap

Ensuring that the next generation of teens will slam doors in a huff, throw eye-daggers, flip up the collars on their leather jackets and rebel, a new AT&T video shows it’s testing software that will let parents remotely turn off voice and texting abilities on their kids’ phones. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

The Verge reveals what’s below sea level:

The video shows an AT&T marketing manager demonstrating how an iPad app could be used to remotely block calls, messaging, and internet access on a child’s device. It also shows how the app can be used to set up email alerts for excessive speeding, or to let you know when your child is trying to initiate a call or text message. And a “Safety Violation Summary” screen gives an overview of the dangerous driving behaviors recorded, like harsh acceleration or taking turns too quickly. The video mentions that the same tools could be used to prevent professional drivers from texting while driving as well.

You know what a nervous, new teen driver needs after his or her first week in rush hour traffic? A debrief. Nothing says “I trust you” like going over your kid’s acceleration patterns. And what’s this about “professional drivers?” The days of the “how’s my driving” sticker are numbered, if employers will be able to remotely answer that question.

I’m sure insurers are champing at the bit too. Your 2015 interaction with an insurance agent could look like this:

YOU: I haven’t had any tickets or accidents for five years. How about a rate reduction, Mac?
MAC: Hmmmm, OK, let’s pull up your scorecard. Heavens! Your phone tells me you’ve been rounding corners at an excessive rate. In fact, you have gone so far as to run over a curb. You sir not only deserve a rate increase, I will be phoning the authorities to have them add you to the Most Likely to Hit a Pedestrian list.

Oh well, I guess there’s always a driverless car...

About the author

Marc Sanchez is the technical director and associate producer for Marketplace Tech Report where he is responsible for shaping the sound of the show.
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