Stun gun firm vaults into mobile software

Taser launches parental control application for smartphones to monitor calls and text messages

Tags: Taser International IncorporatedUSAUnited Arab Emirates
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Stun gun firm vaults into mobile software Taser CEO Rick Smith says mobile software fits company's "mission to protect".
By  George Bevir Published  January 11, 2010

Taser has branched out from the manufacture of stun guns to mobile phone software, with the launch of a suite of parental control applications at last week's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

The US-based firm describes its ‘Protect' application as "a virtual chaperon" for parents that want to keep an eye on their children, and once downloaded to a smartphone it allows the supervising user to monitor calls and text messages.

Taser CEO Rick Smith said that although the software "is a leap in terms of technology and is very different [to the firm's range of stun guns]," it fits in with the company's overall "mission to protect".

"We are using mobile phone technology because it is the best platform, and we see an opportunity to empower parents to protect their kids," he said.

With the software one mobile phone can be used to manage all content received and sent from multiple phones, and can scan content for predetermined words, references and acronyms and even tag photos and videos that contain "violent, drug-related or pornographic images".

It can also be paired with a GPS device installed in a car to limit a mobile phone's functionality when the user is driving and to track the speed and route of a car.

The use of smartphones by youths in the UAE hit the headlines last month when the country's telecom regulator announced it had closed a loophole that allowed smartphone users to access sites that were blocked to fixed line internet users.

Taser boss Smith said he was looking at the Middle East as a potential region for the software to be distributed in, but that North America would be the firm's initial focus with plans to take it to international markets at a later date.

Despite Taser's move into the world of mobile phones, Smith ruled out the prospect of combining the stun gun technology with a mobile phone.

He said that although Taser had received "serious requests" to launch a mobile phone crossed with a stun gun it was not something he was seriously considering.

"At some point convergence needs to stop," he said. "Our stun guns are not something that you would want to hold next to your head."

3354 days ago
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