Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Increasing the Monitoring Capabilities

On Twitter, Alejandro Martí called for the installation of GPS chips into cellular phone chips, so as to better locate kidnappers.
When they kidnap a kidnapper he always has a bunch of those chips. The solution was to demand geolocalization! We've got to fix the law!
I'm not sure if this was just a misfired germ of an idea (damn Twitter!) or something he really believes, but it's hard to see how this would make a huge difference. If kidnappers have dozens of chips, they can just use it once and be done with it, or find other ways to communicate with their victims' families. It may help eliminate the serial virtual kidnappers, whose model relies on them demanding money for a kidnapping that didn't actually happen from various targets, until they land on a gullible mark. Since the typical reaction is to hang up, this activity relies on repeated attempts to bear fruit, so having to change chips after every attempted virtual kidnapping might make the practice unprofitable. However, I don't see how it will reduce actual kidnappings a great deal, where the phone-call-to-payoff ratio is much lower, and the ransoms much larger.

Furthermore, given that weeks after the national database for cell phone numbers kicked off, USB memory sticks with the entire contents of the database were for sale in Mexico City street markets, you can't blame Mexicans for not wanting to entrust the government with the power to track their cell phones across the globe.

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