August 20, 2010

GPS technology, full of surprises?

8-20-2010 California:

California Sex Offender Management Board chair Robert Coombs concluded a week-long, voluntarily experiment Thursday that tested the treatment sex offenders get on parole -- 24-hour GPS tracking and a flashy ankle accessory.

The tracking experiment was aimed at exploring what it's like to wear the tracking device used to monitor sex offenders, as well as the capability of the device in crime monitoring. Dogged by parole officer Tae Shin, Coombs wore the GPS device on his ankle for seven days. It buzzed every time he did anything suspicious (causing several awkward moments in public areas).

"There were a number of times I did something I thought was sneaky," Coombs said. "I'd get a text message from Tae right away saying 'Hey, what are you doing with that?'"

Coombs said he was able to remove the device at one point, which also didn't go unnoticed.

But instantaneous, to-the-second tracking -- think "Enemy of the State" -- is not as easy as some might think. Agents from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation gave a informational presentation to the CSOMB this week, explaining the advantages and limitations of GPS tracking devices in monitoring sex offender activity.

"There are times when we won't be able to specifically say 'my guy is right there, right now,'" parole officer Steve Marshall said at the CSOMB meeting.

Other limitations include weak GPS signal where cell phone coverage is scarce, underwater exposure (no swimming!) and outdated Google and Bing maps. And of course, Coombs could have still committed any number of nefarious crimes while wearing the device.

A presentation analyzing the details of Coomb's experiment -- such as where he went, the treatment he received and any other surprises -- will be held in two months. ..Source.. --Justin Ho in Sacramento

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Waste of good money.