GPS Phone worked, school girl murdered anyway

[RFID in Japan] An elementary school girl was kidnapped in the Japanese city of Nara yesterday. The girl had a GPS-enabled mobile phone. At 5PM, the girl called her mom and hanged up immediately. The mother knew that she could get a map indicating where her daughter was if the daughter’s cell phone was turned on. She fetched a map and found that the girl was located in a park near her house.

Later on, the kidnapper used the girl’s phone to send a photo SMS message to her mother — it said “I got your girl.” That was at around 8PM. According to GPS data, the message was sent from a residential area that was 6 kilometers away from her house. Since then, it was impossible to access GPS data, which probably meant that the phone’s battery run out or the phone was turned off by someone. 4 hours later, the girl was found dead near the the area indicated by the last GPS data.
This tragedy raises a question about usefulness of new tracking technologies including GPS and active RFID. Do they do anything beyond providing parents with small peace of mind? From a child’s perspective, if GPS and/or active RFID tags don’t make his/her life safer, what’s the point in carrying them around? Makes me feel like something is missing.

Interesting to note how the English version of the original article on the Asahi website fails to mention all references to the GPS system the girl was carrying…

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    Based in Paris & Tokyo, Paul Baron is a senior product manager for hire. Ex-@AQworks. Co-founder of cultural platform Tokyo Art Beat.
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