Mr. Bingham's parents use an AT&T service called Find Friend that lets them see his general location when his cellphone is on, based on the company's nearest cellular tower. He said his mother had at times asked him where he was and then used the service to see if he was telling the truth. He admits to turning the phone off occasionally when he doesn't want to be found.
That won't work in the Pratt household, in Garden City, N.Y., where Jason, 13, and Ashley, 11, were given new Nextel cellphones on the condition that they be kept on at all times. With uLocate, Tom Pratt set up his account on the company's Web site to establish a "geofence" around his home and his children's school. Every time the kids leave a 400-foot radius of either place, he gets an automatic e-mail alert: "Ashley has exited Home at 08:18 AM," read a typical message last week.
ulocate has a website that explains how they work and which phones they support, so that's OK, but I can't find anything at AT&T about their service. Anybody heard of it, or is the New York Times just making up stuff again?