Taser Announces Cell Phone Monitoring Software

Taser, which has already started to expand out from its ubiquitous Taser line of stun guns, announced they are have entered the realm of cell phone software. The cellphone software, called Protector, is designed to give parents control over their children's cell phones, including monitoring and limiting texting and phone calls.

This type of software is not new, but Taser claims that "nobody's put the whole thing together" as they have.

In addition, although there are other products like this around, the name Taser carries a lot of weight. Naturally, not all of Taser's notoriety is positive, but the brand, at least, is well-known. The service, however, will not launch until mid-2010.

When it launches, Protector will be a subscription service. It will cost between $10 and $30 a month depending on the selected options, and will have two components, Mobile and Driver. Driver will enable parents to restrict cell phone usage while driving, but requires a Bluetooth connection and extra hardware in the car. Teens, after all, admittedly tend to ignore the no-texting or handset-only laws some states have enacted.

How will it work? Parents will have a "dashboard" on their PC or smartphone. An alert is triggered when an unknown number calls a child's phone, and parents can then block the call, or even answer the call, and then release the call to the child after determining who it is. If the parent discovers it's someone they forgot to add, they can click "Always Allow" to add the number permanently. Parents can also listen in, but a vocal announcement will be made to the parties.

SMS, MMS, emails, photos, and videos can be screen for inappropriate content (sexting?) or language. Mobile Protector also allows a parent to disable a phone for a specified period. "You're grounded!"

Naturally, the service will also offer GPS capability. Finally, there's a nice feature: "Records Release." A parent can call this up and all of the available data, such as last known location, latest calls, etc. will be sent to the authorities. Unfortunately, in this day and age, it's something parents need to be aware of.

While the image on the Taser Protector website shows an iPhone, it's hard to know how this will work on that device, without background processing. There's no official information on supported phones, as yet.

Recently, the San Jose (CA) Police Department and Taser announced the firm and city were testing the first ever police uniform cameras, designed as an adjunct to the now familiar police dash cams. That, and moves into the consumer space with Protector as well as Taser consumer stun guns, are an effort by the company to diversify.