On Monday, a man in San Francisco rode his bike up to a woman holding an iPhone and snatched it out of her hand, then took off. What he didn’t know was that the woman had just walked out of her company’s office to test a new GPS program that provides real time tracking. She went back inside, gave the police location updates over the phone, and man was arrested a half-mile away, reports the San Francisco Chronicle’s Crime Scene blog. [More]
Like many Americans this year, I received a GPS unit as a Christmas gift. Its first real test was navigating to an unfamiliar town for New Year’s Eve, and it sent me on a circuitous, traffic-clogged route to the nearest freeway entrance after picking up a friend. “What? No!” I yelled at the device when it asked me to make a pointless, impossible left turn onto a dead-end street.
I only ended up a half-mile away from my route at any given time, and quickly realized that global positioning satellites are no substitute for actual common sense, assuming that you have any. But some of my fellow holiday GPS recipients haven’t been so lucky.
An Indiana University grad student has made public an audio recording of a Sprint employee who describes how the company has given away customer GPS location data to cops over 8 million times in less than a year. Ars technica reports that “law enforcement [officers] could log into a special Sprint Web portal and, without ever having to demonstrate probable cause to a judge, gain access to geolocation logs detailing where they’ve been and where they are.” Update: Sprint says the 8 million figure refers to individual pings of GPS data, and that the number of individuals involved is in the thousands. [More]
One Georgia family is understandably distraught after the house their father built by hand was demolished without warning by a crew that says they were given GPS coordinates rather than an address. The home was currently empty — but contained irreplaceable heirlooms.
Garmin wants to bill reader Hal $99 for a new SD card after failing to tell him to remove his old card before returning his dead-on-arrival StreetPilot C510. The SD card holds the unit’s maps, and without one, the GPS unit is useless.
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Now that we’ve got such advanced cell phone technology, Russel Shaw with ZDNet thinks we should start putting it to use to make shopping in the real world easier. His idea, free for the taking if you’re feeling entrepreneurial: shopping mall geolocation services.
Scott is pissed because he had his hopes geared up for a $99 Navigon 2100 portable GPS unit from Staples. All the advertising said the sale started at 6am. After dutifully waiting until 6am, he ordered the item Then he found out that some people had been calling in to the 1800 Staples # since 4 that morning, placing orders, and it was now out of stock. No GPS for Scott, who is now mad. If you advertise the heck out of a 6am starting time, you better make sure everyone abides by it. At least, unlike other shoppers across the nation, Scott was able to miss out on the doorbuster deal from the comfort, convenience, and warmth of his own home.
Hello Ms. Marco,
You may have always heard how you can geographically pinpoint where an email came from using IP address but now GeoTool makes it possible for the layman.
Make no mistake: We think that Sprint refusing to help freaked out parents locate their carjacked baby is awful. Whether Sprint’s policy states that customers need to pay a $25 fee to subpoena the information or not, an exception should probably have been made. (Sprint has stated that emergency procedure was not followed.)