Friday, January 9, 2009

Google search finds missing child

i thought it worth while to share this. this time, it was used for a good purpose. but who knows what will happen this Google tracking technology goes into the hands of terrorists and so forth?

A nine-year-old girl, allegedly kidnapped by her grandmother, has been found using a mobile phone signal and Google Street View.

A police officer and a firefighter in Athol, Massachusetts, joined forces after authorities were alerted that Natalie Maltais had been taken.

Officers used GPS in the girl's mobile phone to find her approximate location.

They fed the co-ordinates into Google Street View, pinpointing a hotel where the child was subsequently found.

The alarm was raised after grandmother Rose Maltais picked up Natalie from the child's legal guardians for what was supposed to be a weekend away.

She "said that she wasn't going to return Natalie and then left the state", Athol police chief Timothy Anderson told the BBC.

The police contacted Ms Maltais, but after she didn't return Natalie as promised, they decided to track them down using Natalie's mobile phone.

Since 2005, US law says that mobile phone providers must be able to locate 67% of callers within 100 metres and 95% of callers within 300 meters.

This requirement has led to GPS capability in most new mobile phones in the US.

"This is very useful, although we can only use it in emergency situations such as when a person is missing or lost, or a life is in danger," said chief Anderson.

Knowing this, police officer Todd Neale contacted the mobile phone provider, AT&T, which gave him GPS coordinates every time the phone was activated. Police must submit a compliance form to the phone provider to request location information.

Source :: BBC

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