Google’s Latitude is a free cell-phone add-on for locating a spouse, child, employee or loved one on a digital map, with an opt-in feature that effectively resolves privacy concerns; according to the Times of London on 5 February 2009, p. 20.

             I can immediately think of useful applications:

 1.         Tracking children during visitation more cheaply that with a chaperone.

 2.         An anti-adultery clause in a pre-marital agreement. However, this would be less informative if the adultery occurs in the workplace, since it would look like the target was working.

 3.         A clause in a civil protection order, such as – for example – verifying that the defendant remained 500 feet from the victim at all times. Would judges admit digital maps as proof of contempt, after entering a protective order containing a Google-Latitude-tracking requirement? They might, but I believe it should only be admissible as corroborative evidence.

 4.         Conditional activities of children, like borrowing the family automobile for a particular purpose, attending school, going somewhere on a date, or reaching home alone at a particular time.

 5.         Restricted driving permits for DWI defendants, where the only driving is to specified locations like driver education class, work or the doctor.  Ideally, this phone would be restricted to such outings and none other.

             Think of Latitude software as a mobile ankle bracelet, or as the Times put it more gently, an “invisible umbilical cord”.  My adaptations would require a promise that the phone be charged, turned on, and in the physical possession of the target at all times. Perhaps honesty is too much to ask of people being tracked in this way. But in trying economic times, information delivery at no cost is sure to find a market.