Some Mobile phones (and this is probably all going to sound SO out of date in a couple of months time given the way these things develop!) have a Global Positioning System (GPS) operating which can tell you where you are and, by hooking into something similar to a car Satellite Navigation System, how you get to where you want to be.
Leaving aside what I always think are the obvious questions, “How come you don’t know where you are?” and “Why didn’t you go to where you wanted to be in the first place?”, I am sure this function is of considerable help to some people.
As I understand it the dark side of this is that the Mobile Phone version of GPS does not work via communications satellites but via a triangulation system using the huge array of fixed mobile phone masts and also works in reverse in that your position is capable of being traced at any given moment by “The Authorities”. And this can be done for ANY mobile – not just those honestly declaring the capability by listing GPS as a function. I am sure, again, that in these days of terror alerts, there are times when it is good that the powers-that-be have this capability – although I would have thought that any terrorist with half a brain would have known all this and taken steps to circumvent it!
What I’m NOT sure about is whether I want “them” to have that information available for ME whether they need it or not!
“Big Brother”, his methods and supposed justifications are, however, a target for a future rant – the fact that I was trying (in my usual long-winded way) to get to was this:-
EXCEPT for when you are under surveillance by the Security Services (you naughty boy!), with a Mobile Phone you are wherever you say you are!
The whole point of this entire ramble has been to lead up to a story related to me by my father early in 2006. He was walking through the centre of Ipswich (in Suffolk, UK), our home town, when he passed a man standing in the main, pedestrianised, shopping street, mobile phone to his ear. As is usual with outdoor mobile usage he was making no effort to keep his voice down giving a fascinating glimpse into one side of a conversation.
The words that my father heard that caused him to take notice were “No! I’m just coming into Wolverhampton now!”
Look it up on Google Earth or similar! Those two towns are 160 miles (257Kms) apart! There was no way he could have done what he said he was doing for at least another 3 hours, probably quite a lot more.
Don’t you agree though that there is a great novel (with film rights and all) waiting to be written about the story of deceit and betrayal that may lay behind those words? Alas! We shall never know the truth!
Oh, if you DO write it up and it sells, please cut me in on the profits!