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Do high-tech monitoring devices need stricter regulation?

   High-tech electronic-monitoring devices and software have been a boon for parents, police and law-abiding citizens.

   Everything from GPS devices and smart phones to smaller and cheaper video cameras and audio recorders have made it easier to communicate, travel and make sure your family stays safe.

   However, criminals also are taking advantage of these technological advances, notably stalkers who increasingly are electronically monitoring their victims, police and privacy advocates say.

   Stalkers are hiding tracking devices in vehicles, video cameras in bedrooms and audio recorders in homes and offices in an attempt to more easily pursue the objects of their obsession.

   Police and victims' advocates say they don't believe advances in technology are creating more stalkers, but they do believe it's making it easier for people who have this intense desire for control to hunt their victims.

   Law-enforcement personnel say potential victims need to know this could happen to them and they must be careful about what they do online.

   Some groups say laws need to be changed to account for the changes in how stalkers operate today, while others say the government needs to limit the sale of spyware software and other surveillance technology.

   What do you think? Do you think the government should take steps to make tech-aided stalking harder? Should Web sites that advertise these products or that obtain and sell personal information on demand be subject to stricter regulation?

   -- Stephen T. Watson

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