Scottish company launches phone-tracking system for businesses

Aug 07, 2006

A Scottish company launched a new system Sunday that will enable employers to track workers' movements through their mobile phones. The tech firm Trisent, based in Dunfermline near Edinburgh, has aimed the system at the business market, where it could have applications in fields from plumbing to sales.

Trisent claims a higher degree of accuracy and a lower cost than rival GPS or Cell-ID systems. Unlike existing systems, its Trilocator uses standard, unmodified cell phones to track phone users instantly

Civil liberties campaigners warned that as such technology becomes cheaper and more widespread, there will be a growing risk of abuse.

"Just because you give up eight hours a day to an employer does not mean that they own you," said Doug Jewell, a spokesman for the rights group Liberty. "There is no reason for an employer to know where you are 24/7."

The key question, he said, is whether an employee can switch off the tracking function from the phone.

But even if use is voluntary, Jewell said, there is a danger employees could be pressured into letting bosses follow their movements.

"In our view there has to be some strategy for regulation of this technology, otherwise you are drifting into the situation where employees can be monitored with impunity," he said

Trisent said its system allows users to disable tracking by switching off their phones when the working day ends.

"All of our clients must sign up to our code of practice and they must inform employees that there is tracking on the phone," said Gordon Povey, managing director of the firm. "Also each time it is switched on, the phone informs the user that the tracking is activated."

He said that meant it would be impossible for an employer to secretly track staff.

"In the end it is really up to the employer and employee to decide whether or not they want to do this," he said.

Trisent has been testing the technology in pilot program, in which Russian telecoms giant VimpelCom also took part, with a view to offering the service in Russia and Ukraine.

Laws regulating cell phone tracking in Britain were relaxed in May.

Britain's first service allowing parents to track children by mobile phone will be launched Aug. 16.

Povey said Trisent was offering its service only to businesses, not individuals.

By BEN McCONVILLE, Associated Press Writer
Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Explore further: HBO launches two new shows on Facebook

Related Stories

App makes virtual clothes fitting faster

Jun 16, 2015

The dress doesn't fit; the colour clashes; the neckline is most unflattering. They're all things it's best to work out before you buy, but too often don't. However, a new generation of virtual shopping could ...

Can phone data detect real-time unemployment?

Jun 15, 2015

If you leave your job, chances are your pattern of cellphone use will also change. Without a commute or workspace, it stands to reason, most people will make a higher portion of their calls from homeā€”and ...

Analyzing employment trends through cell phone data

Jun 03, 2015

Policymakers now have another tool in their arsenal to help recognize and respond quickly to economic shocks. A new research study co-authored by Harvard Kennedy School Assistant Professor Daniel Shoag finds ...

How researchers listen for gravitational waves

May 28, 2015

A century ago, Albert Einstein postulated the existence of gravitational waves in his General Theory of Relativity. But until now, these distortions of space-time have remained stubbornly hidden from direct ...

Recommended for you

EU roaming charges to be abolished in 2017 (Update)

5 hours ago

The European Union said Tuesday it had struck a deal to abolish mobile phone roaming charges in 2017, ending fees that are loathed by millions of holidaymakers and business travellers across Europe.

HBO launches two new shows on Facebook

Jun 25, 2015

HBO posted the first episodes of its two newest comedy series on Facebook on Thursday, turning the social networking site into a new platform for TV viewing.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.