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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.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: TV-over-Internet service Aereo seeks Chapter 11 (Update)

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

To succeed in academia, grad students need 'street smarts'

Nov 04, 2014

In an era of reduced funding, it's not enough for a young researcher to be a good scientist. He or she also needs "street smarts" to, for example, find an influential mentor, dress professionally, network during scientific ...

The quick brown fox can help secure your passwords online

Oct 28, 2014

In 2004 Bill Gates pronounced usernames and passwords dead. Gates, a man consistently thinking ahead of the crowd, was right. Most of us – including our employers and the online services we rely on – just ...

Protecting privacy also means preserving democracy

Sep 01, 2014

What impact does the proliferation of new mobile technologies have? How does the sharing of personal data over the Internet threaten our society? Interview with Professor Jean-Pierre Hubaux, a specialist ...

Recommended for you

Form Devices team designs Point as a house sitter

Nov 22, 2014

A Scandinavian team "with an international outlook" and good eye for electronics, software and design aims to reach success with what they characterize as "a softer take" on home security. Their device is ...

Man pleads guilty in New York cybercrime case

Nov 22, 2014

A California man has pleaded guilty in New York City for his role marketing malware that federal authorities say infected more than a half-million computers worldwide.

Dish restores Turner channels to lineup

Nov 21, 2014

Turner Broadcasting channels such as Cartoon Network and CNN are back on the Dish network after being dropped from the satellite TV provider's lineup during contract talks.

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.