Feeds

Google nabs purse snatcher

Sister-tracking app used for good, not evil

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

Google's Latitude service proved an unwitting aid to police tracing a stolen purse in San Francisco, guiding the boys in blue to the miscreants in moments.

The story comes from local-TV channel CBS-5, and relates the story of one Janina Valiente, who had her bag snatched while waiting for a bus. The woman realised that Google's Latitude service would still be running on her phone and borrowed a passer-by's handset to call her sister. She was able to see the thieves progress to a nearby junction, where police apprehended them still holding the bag and contents.

Latitude enables users to share their location with friends, or sisters, and Janina apparently installed the app as a joke so she could "stalk" her sister in LA, though it turned out to be rather more useful as CBS-5's video re-enactment demonstrates.

Network operators routinely track mobile phones, and store historical location information, but they charge police for this, and the faster the police want the information the more they have to pay, so they'd be very unlikely to bother for a nicked bag. But Google shares the information for free, so enabling the swift recovery of the bag at minimal expense.

Clearly we should all be signing up to Google's Latitude and putting a copper or two in as our friends. That way the police wouldn't have to pay the network operators for tracking information and technically-illiterate thieves would just have to target iPhone owners - who can't leave Latitude running in the background. ®

Bootnote

Thanks to Reg reader Chris Winpenny for the nod.

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Brit telcos warn Scots that voting Yes could lead to HEFTY bills
BT and Co: Independence vote likely to mean 'increased costs'
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Blockbuster book lays out the first 20 years of the Smartphone Wars
Symbian's David Wood bares all. Not for the faint hearted
'Serious flaws in the Vertigan report' says broadband boffin
Report 'fails reality test' , is 'simply wrong' and offers ''convenient' justification for FTTN says Rod Tucker
This flashlight app requires: Your contacts list, identity, access to your camera...
Who us, dodgy? Vast majority of mobile apps fail privacy test
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.