Kid Tracking is Useless

There’s a story reported on RFID Japan (via Picture Phoning) that brutally and tragically illustrates a point I’ve been making for some time about child tracking technologies. Namely, that they’re a waste of time, at best. At worst, they could give parents a false sense of security, which means that they don’t teach their kids the streets smarts they used to.

This is one case where I wish I wasn’t right. But here’s the story, with an abductor doing exactly what they would do – ditching the child’s GPS enable mobile. These freaks and monsters read and watch the media too and you’d have to be really dumb not to know that you can trace someone’s location from their mobile.

An elementary school girl was kidnapped in the Japanese city of Nara yesterday. The girl had a GPS-enabled mobile phone. At 5PM, the girl called her mom and hanged up immediately. The mother knew that she could get a map indicating where her daughter was if the daughter’s cell phone was turned on. She fetched a map and found that the girl was located in a park near her house.

Later on, the kidnapper used the girl’s phone to send a photo SMS message to her mother — it said “I got your girl.” That was at around 8PM. According to GPS data, the message was sent from a residential area that was 6 kilometers away from her house. Since then, it was impossible to access GPS data, which probably meant that the phone’s battery run out or the phone was turned off by someone. 4 hours later, the girl was found dead near the the area indicated by the last GPS data.

Child tracking is an industry that should never have really started, thriving as it does on exploiting natural parental fears. But worse, it doesn’t work. It’s about as useful to kids’ safety as them believing in the Tooth Fairy.

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