Feeds

Olympics bosses probe mobile tracking tech

'Geo fences' could protect east London

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

Security officials preparing counter-terror measures for the 2012 Olympics are considering deploying technology that can continuously pinpoint the location of mobile phones.

Civil servants have held meetings with TruePosition, a US mobile location firm trying to break into the UK telecoms market.

Its technology can be used to erect virtual "geo fences", which will alert security staff when an unauthorised mobile phone enters a protected site and track it, typically with an accuracy of 30 to 50 metres.

Such a set up does not require cooperation from mobile network operators, as witnessed in systems offered by Path Technologies, a UK company offering similar technology to allow retailers to track customers.

At present in the UK, mobile operators are able to locate mobile phones for law enforcement and intelligence agencies, but collect data routinely only when they are used.

In the US, meanwhile, TruePosition has installed technology in tens of thousands of base stations nationwide. This allows constant monitoring of location, and can give an indication of direction and speed. AT&T and T-Mobile deployed the system earlier in the decade to comply with FCC regulations demanding accurate location data for 911 operators.

Each hardware unit records how long signals from a mobile device take to reach them. Data from several is then combined by a central server to determine location. TruePosition says its approach beats GPS tracking because it does not require a high-end handset and functions well indoors.

Of course, TruePosition's US location network is also accessed by law enforcement and intelligence agencies. Indeed, in less privacy-sensitive societies, such as Singapore, the company sells direct to governments who maintain tracking databases themselves.

Brian Bolon, the firm's product director, said: "Mass tracking may not be allowed everywhere, but it is an option."

Ben Fletcher, head of policy and communications within the Home Office's Olympic Security Directorate, told The Register that officials were looking at a wide range of technologies and companies to secure Olympic sites.

Fletcher said the government does not plan to use untested technologies during the Olympics and was talking to more than 200 different providers. The total security budget is £600m, mostly for staffing costs, with a further £238m for contingencies.

The Directorate is working with authorities in previous host cities to identify successful strategies. Fletcher said officials had a good relationships with counterparts in Athens and Sydney. He pointedly added they had "a relationship" with Beijing.

TruePosition has also held talks with UK mobile networks, so far without any sales. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
WHY did Sunday Mirror stoop to slurping selfies for smut sting?
Tabloid splashes, MP resigns - but there's a BIG copyright issue here
Spies, avert eyes! Tim Berners-Lee demands a UK digital bill of rights
Lobbies tetchy MPs 'to end indiscriminate online surveillance'
How the FLAC do I tell MP3s from lossless audio?
Can you hear the difference? Can anyone?
Inequality increasing? BOLLOCKS! You heard me: 'Screw the 1%'
There's morality and then there's economics ...
Google hits back at 'Dear Rupert' over search dominance claims
Choc Factory sniffs: 'We're not pirate-lovers - also, you publish The Sun'
EU to accuse Ireland of giving Apple an overly peachy tax deal – report
Probe expected to say single-digit rate was unlawful
While you queued for an iPhone 6, Apple's Cook sold shares worth $35m
Right before the stock took a 3.8% dive amid bent and broken mobe drama
prev story

Whitepapers

A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
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?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.