RFID Tags and GPS Personal Locators Track People

RFID tags and GPS Personal locators are available on the market now. There are two sides to view on their use. The potential to protect children from abduction and just find them when they have wandered off. The same applies to the Alzheimer’s patient wandering off and not being able to communicate where their home is.

With the very real concern of child abduction there are now are a number of ways that technology can assist in protecting our children. Designer Lauren Scott has come out with a line of children’s clothing that uses the RFID tag devices to track a child taken more than 30 feet beyond their home. Target will sell the line in the Spring of 2006.

The down side to this technology is that retailers are also planning to implement the use of these devices to track clothing. The RFID tags can track the clothes in the warehouse, during shipping and when purchased by the consumer. There is some concern about invasion of privacy here. The good that the devices can do may open a door to an entirely new area of loss of privacy.

RFID Tags

Radio Frequency IDentification uses radio frequencies to track objects, animals, or people. Radio Frequency
IDentification technology can be used for tags on items in warehouses, shops, ID cards, etc. The tags are passive and do not require a battery or maintenance. Current reader technology can be readily incorporated into a handheld device.

Dr. John Halamka, CIO of Harvard Medical School had the VeriChip tag implanted under his arm. The chip holds medical record and physician information. Dr. Halamka has indicated that it will be important to implement standards that will protect unauthorized access of information on the tag. The comments that Dr. Halamka has received range from losing his anonymity to dehumanizing. Taking this into consideration if a family has someone suffering from an illness such as Alzheimer’s the benefit here is enormous. These patients would always be able to “get home” because their information would be on the chip to identify them and provide their address, phone, and other important contact and medical information.

However, the concern for unauthorized access and invasion of privacy are a very real concern. The need for security and safety if balanced against the negative would put my mind at rest. Knowing that my child or Alzheimer’s patient would be protected by this technology, eliminating the fear of their loss or danger. Nothing in this world is 100% hack proof. We should not deny the use of a technology that has the potential to protect our loved ones. We can certainly look at the ways in which the information these chips carry can be protected.

GPS Locators

GPS is short for Global Positioning System, a system of satellites that allows one’s position to be calculated with great accuracy with the use of an electronic receiver.

The GPS Locator made by Wherify is a personal device that your child or other individual wears like a watch. The locator will help you verify the wearer’s location in minutes. The system works with Wherify’s patented technology, U.S. Department of Defense’s multi-billion dollar Global Positioning System (GPS) satellites, plus the nations largest 100% digital, nationwide PCS wireless network. In addition to the watch locator, Wherify also makes a phone locator. They offer monthly plans that range from $24.95 a month to $34.95.

With your child wearing the GPS Locator Watch you simply call the number you will be given or log onto www.wherify.com. Wherify will map the child’s location within feet and provide the closest street address. In an emergency, you can request a 911 response. The GPS Locator Phone works in the same manner and also offers an “emergency response request” button.

You can visit Wherify’s web site for complete details on their products and plans.

Wherify’s GPS Locator Watch
http://www.wherifywireless.com/prod_watches.htm

Wherify’s GPS Wherifone
http://www.wherifywireless.com/univLoc.asp

Both of these technology innovations offer the practical and inexpensive potential to aid in the protection of our children and individuals suffering from an illness such as Alzheimer’s. With care taken to look at ways to protect data, these technology devices offer much peace of mind.

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