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May 31, 2008

The inevitability of GPS tracking and cost-saving technocorrections

I just came across this recent UK Reuters article headlined "GPS grows as a crime-fighting tool in US."  These excerpts from the piece confirm my instincts that widespread use of GPS tracking and other cost-saving technocorrections are inevitable in the years ahead:

Coast to coast, authorities are expanding electronic monitoring to fight crime -- moving beyond its early use in tracking movements of sex offenders to include gang members who have been released on probation, people accused of repeated violence against women and even truant students at schools.

At the heart of the surveillance is a technology best-known for helping people on the road: the global positioning system. Other countries are watching closely. GPS monitoring is already established in parts of Europe but applied more narrowly, and it's growing fast in Latin America, said Jeff Durski, spokesman for iSECUREtrac Corp, based in Omaha, Nebraska, which manufactures the devices and leases them to police and courts.

Massachusetts, one of the first states to employ it in 2006, now has about 700 people fitted with electronic bracelets that send signals via satellite to computer servers if they go places they shouldn't -- so-called "exclusion zones." The Massachusetts law, which allows judges to impose electronic monitoring as a condition of a restraining order, has become a model for states such as Illinois and Oklahoma.

The Oklahoma Senate voted 47-0 in April to enlist GPS technology to protect victims of domestic violence. The Illinois House of Representatives unanimously passed similar surveillance legislation last month.

Part of the appeal is money. GPS is a cost-effective alternative to prison, said Paul Lucci, deputy commissioner of the Massachusetts Probation Service, pointing to a chart taped to his office wall showing a state-wide surge in use of GPS -- mostly to track sex offenders but also for others. "These people probably should be in jail but the cost of incarceration can be as much as $30,000 or $40,000 (15,000 or 20,000 pounds) a year.  The GPS costs about $3,400 a year," he said. "I think it's good on both sides. It is a device to protect the public. Although we can't guarantee anyone's safety, it provides an extra level of supervision on somebody.  On the other side, for a defense attorney, it is in lieu of incarceration," said Lucci.

Some related posts on GPS tracking:

May 31, 2008 at 12:06 PM | Permalink

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Comments

This sounds like a good opportunity for a radio engineer to come up with a fake GPS bracelet that reports false coordinates.

Posted by: jimbino | Jun 2, 2008 10:48:05 AM

GPS trackers are a great tool for law enforcement agencies to fight crime because a) they provide 24/7 monitoring capabilities, b) are cost-effective solutions to paying expensive over-time, c)provide concrete data regarding position and driving activity, d) do not put uniformed officers in harms way. Now with trackers being engineered with exterior magnetic mounts, placing a GPS device on a vehicle has never been more simple for police agencies,

---GPS Tracking Expert

Posted by: Tracking System | Aug 28, 2010 2:26:57 PM

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