Criminals fail to factor geo-locating capability

iPhone GPS is the bane of thieves

Reports have surfaced of owners successfully tracking freshly stolen iPhones due to the built-in GPS tracking capability.

Earlier this week a woman in San Francisco had her iPhone 4 snatched out of her hand by a thief riding a bicycle reported the San Francisco Chronicle. Amusingly the phone was in the process of being used in a demonstration of real-time GPS tracking at the time.

A swift call to the police and the owner was able to give a real-time update on the thieve’s location. Little wonder since the phone belonged to David Kahn, chief executive of Covia Labs which which had been in the process of demonstrating Alert & Respond, software designed for real-time tracking for exactly such circumstances.

Barely ten minutes later the thieve had been arrested on suspicion of grand theft and possession of stolen property.

In the same week, Angela Devery of Melbourne Australia, left her new iPhone in a taxi after a night on the town. Devery wasn’t running a GPS tracking application at the time however she had a subscription to Apple’s MobileMe service which provides mobile tracking and remote wiping/locking capability. 

Devery’s younger brother went online and was able to track the iPhone to a dishonest taxi driver’s Melbourne suburbs address. Devery approached the address and asked for the phone back, only for the taxi driver to deny possession and then later flee with the iPhone. 

Following some cat and mouse antics, the taxi driver none the wiser that his every move was being tracked, eventually reconsidered after realising it would soon be a matter for the police and subsequently "found" the iPhone and handed it back to the owner. The follow story is here

In addition to mobile GPS tracking, MobileMe provides the ability to wipe the contents of the phone remotely and introduce a pass lock on the phone. Surely a wise move with light fingered crooks increasingly targeting expensive technological accessories of the modern age. 

A similar application is available for Android-based mobile phones called WaveSecure

Image credit: Apple

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