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T-Mobile touts US teen tracker

Parental paranoia palliative motion-monitoring app for less dicey driving

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T-Mobile USA is offering to prevent teens texting while driving for only $5 a month, and track their movements for free, as long as they have an Android handset.

DriveSmart Plus comes from Location Labs, which also provides FamilyWhere for those who want their offspring's movements plotted on a convenient map.

DriveSmart kicks in when the GPS system reports the phone is moving, prevents text messages being sent and redirects all calls, with an override button that reports back to mom and dad for later explanation.

The more astute reader will have noticed a flaw in this plan: teens travelling on buses or trains will be equally cut off, but we have to assume that American kids rich enough to have Android phones would never stoop to travelling on public transport.

According to the Location Labs video, delightfully presented from the back seat while not wearing a seatbelt, 20 per cent of (US) car accidents "involve some type of distraction" which worries us slightly - the other 80 per cent are presumably concentrating fiercely as they plough into each other?

Location Labs makes some play of its ability to integrate with operator infrastructure to pull location data from the network, for the delivery of targeted advertising and such, though today's offerings both make use of the GPS capability of Android handsets which is easier to implement but limits the audience.

For DriveSmart Plus the offering is limited to the LG Optimus T handset, though others are reportedly in the pipeline. Anyone who uses public transport would obviously find the application irritating and useless, but if you're the kind of parent who doesn't trust your kids not to text and drive, or wants to track them 24/7, then you're probably not going to let them on a bus either. ®

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