Saturday, December 18, 2010

Pro Track 1.0 iPhone (updated twice)


Pro Track 1.0 iPhone is out. It tracks the movements of an iPhone it is installed on (So one needs physical access to a phone before it can be tracked). From the press release: 

"Pro Track can be used to shadow anyone who carries an iPhone. It could be the user's 12-year-old daughter or aged father. It could also be the user's spouse, business associate, or girlfriend. Or it could easily be a courier service or other business, keeping track of their employees. The technology itself is neutral; only in specific cases might ethical questions arise. Clearly, creative technocrats will find unthought-of uses for a veritably tamper-proof, minute-accurate log of where someone has been and how they got there.
... The app manual refers to the person being tracked as "the target", and recommends that the user weigh battery life versus required tracking accuracy when doing the initial setup."

A bit creepy. I guess it's only a matter of time before the app can record sound and use the camera without the user knowing. And send the data wirelessly instead of the installer needing to get hands on the phone again. If and when it gets to that point (but even now), it raises all kinds of security and privacy issues about just owning an iPhone ("never let it out of your sight").  

Remarkable that they say "The technology itself is neutral", but then proudly proclaim that the app "refers to the person being tracked as "the target".

Update:
BaronessBlack said:
A colleague of my husband had her iPad taken from her bag while she was in the library. She was able to narrow it's location down to two houses in a terraced row of houses. She took the information to the police, and when they went to check it out they found all sorts of stolen equipment there. So there are some less sinister aspects to knowing where your i-stuff is!

Thanks, absolutely. Although this was installed just for that purpose, not to spy on anybody.
But it's true that anything in the world can be used constructively or destructively.

Bruce said:
Google Latitude can do that. It's available for the iPhone or iPad now as well, and it's free.
Yes, it is a bit creepy.

Thank you.
I have downloaded that app, and it seems you have to have it installed and give others permission to track your position for it to work, so that's OK by me, could even be practical, save a lot of "where are you" calls.

9 comments:

TC [Girl] said...

A person can be tracked just by leaving their GPS setting on a phone on as it is, now...as well as photo tagging.

chizuko said...

If your phone is stolen, can it help you to locate it and recover it? If it were capable of transmitting images of what the camera is seeing, it might pick up a street sign or house number, and the police could bust them and get you your phone back. With all the technology, it ought to be used to help crime victims and stop criminals.

BaronessBlack said...

A colleague of my husband had her i-pad taken from her bag while she was in the library. She was able to narrow it's location down to two houses in a terraced row of houses. She took the information to the police, and when they went to check it out they found all sorts of stolen equipment there. So there are some less sinister aspects to knowing where your i-stuff is!

eolake said...

Thanks. (Post updated.)

Philocalist said...

'A bit creepy. I guess it's only a matter of time before the app can record sound and use the camera without the user knowing. And send the data wirelessly instead of the installer needing to get hands on the phone again. If and when it gets to that point .....'

This capability has been around / available for years (10+?) (from a small, well-known shop in London, amongst other places!) to anyone who could pay the price on the ticket!
Something very similar was also installed (by me!) in a Sony laptop my daughter was using whilst at Uni, maybe 5 years ago. Foolishly, she left it in the car for less than 5 minutes: it was gone on her return, but traced within 15 minutes, and recovered!


@TC ... again, been possible for many years now using simple triangulation, even before the advent of 'ubiquitous' GPS ... and it works EVEN WITH YOUR PHONE SWITCHED OFF!!!
Mobile phones can be easily traced / tracked, whether you like it or not: the only two current options seem to be complete removal of battery, or effective shielding (which would also render the phone useless!) :-)

eolake said...

Why would a cell phone use battery on sending any signals when it's shut off?

Bruce said...

Google Latitude can do that. It's available for the iPhone or iPad now as well, and it's free.

http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/id306586497

Yes, it is a bit creepy.

eolake said...

Thanks, hadn't heard of that.

eolake said...

I have downloaded that app, and it seems you have to have it installed and give others permission to track your position for it to work, so that's OK by me, could even be practical, save a lot of "where are you" calls.