[IWAR] JAPAN tracking cellphones

From: 7Pillars Partners (partnersat_private)
Date: Wed Feb 11 1998 - 09:32:37 PST

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    Japan Tracks Mobile Phone Users Via Fax
      (02/10/98; 1:11 p.m. EST)
      By Jeremy Scott-Joynt, Total Telecom 
      Dodging work and having illicit love affairs is about to
      get more difficult, at least in Japan. NTT, the world's
      largest telecommunications carrier, is testing
      technology that lets the location of a mobile telephone
      be tracked using a fax-based service. 
      NTT Central Personal Communications, the NTT
      subsidiary running a personal handyphone system
      (PHS) network in Tokyo, is running a trial that lets
      anyone with the telephone number and PIN code of a
      subscriber's handset receive a map by fax. The map
      contains a circle with a radius of between 100 and
      500 meters, which shows the likely location of the
      phone, and, presumably, the user.
      The radius of the circle is dictated by the cell size,
      which, in PHS, is considerably smaller than a
      conventional cellular service thanks to smaller, lighter,
      and much shorter-range handsets. The trial, which will
      run from February until April, could be used by
      members of the same family, group, or organization to
      keep close track on the movements of colleagues,
      friends, and relatives. 
      The technology does not have to be restricted to
      Japan's PHS system. Other cellular systems have the
      same capabilities, too. Network providers have been
      able to track their subscribers in emergency situations. 
      Perhaps more controversially, networks can also track
      subscribers on behalf of law-enforcement agencies.
      Swisscom, Switzerland's main telecom operator, has
      admitted that its mobile telephone system has been
      used by Swiss police to track the movements of
      All mobile networks by necessity keep a constant fix
      on every handset's location while the phone is on
      standby, so as to allow the delivery of incoming calls.
      NTT Central, however, is the first operator to offer
      location tracking as a mainstream service. 
      Although the need for a PIN number means the
      service will mainly be used by businesses that issue
      PHS phones to employees, the move may still arouse
      fears about the move's privacy implications. 
      NTT has been testing the technology since July last
      year, to have it ready by the Winter Olympics, which
      opened last week in Nagano. A locator service is
      being provided there for phones, such as the
      wristwatch-sized phones issued to members of the
      organizing committee.

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