Cell phones have now begun to perform the function of a tracking device which is capable of revealing your location to the police, the paramedics or even grocery stores who are looking to deliver their coupons to customers in the area.
Android Cell phone tracking is on the rise and is about to go vertical because the US government is prodding the location services industry to solve the puzzle of the z sector as it is known. This will enable to determine the building you are in but also the floor on which your phone is located.
One of the keys to this is the spread of barometric pressure sensors which are found in Android devices as well as in the Apple iPhone. With more than 100 million of these phones owned by customers, it is now possible to take air pressure readings which can determine the altitude at which the person is located.
The system is part of a new generation of location technology which could allow altitude data to be collected from smart phones and it could be used to help people who may be stuck at the time of an emergency. However those who advocate privacy suggest that such information could be used by hackers, intelligence agencies and detectives to map out the movements of the cell phones.
The potential for this goes beyond the use of governments. Malls could also make use of this technology to monitor crowds and send customers coupon codes depending on the store they pass by. Casinos too could monitor gamblers for the purpose of security and companies could use it to keep tabs on their employees, especially those who are responsible for handling expensive products.
The technology used by it is simple; air molecules concentrate densely at lower altitudes in comparison to higher ones which causes measurable variations which follow a predictable pattern.
With air pressure sensors available in smart phones, a number of apps have also been developed such as the iPhone 6 having a health app which makes use of air pressure change to determine the number of steps a user climbs in a day.
Another app called the Glide Mate maps out the longitude, latitude and altitude based on air pressure readings made by the smart phone.
Taking the new technology to consider emergency calls, it is known that such calls are made to report a crime, fire or any medical emergency. For this purpose, the dispatcher would be required to know the location of the caller so that assistance can be sent irrespective of whether the caller can or will provide his location. Technologies which are already operating under rules provided by the FCC are capable of finding out the location of the callers. Carriers too have begun to activate GPS chips in smart phones which can determine the location of callers and send the results to the dispatcher. Some however in the location services industry are of the opinion that the existing system is flawed and that GPS tracking needs a clear line of sight to satellites which makes it useless if the caller of a 911 call is inside a building.
A number of privacy advocates are in support of the idea of better location tracking for calls placed to 911 however it is government overreach that is feared. The previous time the FCC updated its location requirements for wireless carriers, later on a number of people agreed for the FBI to be provided with the same data.
The increase in the use of GPS location tracking offers a cautionary tale. Even if callers turn off the ability of their phones to send out their location, systems in use by 911 can remotely active this function in their phones and send 911 with the precise location of the caller. This may not be of much concern since the person calling the authorities is probably doing so as he wishes to be found. However if smartphones come with the ability for the GPS tracking to be remotely activated, it is highly likely that others too will take advantage of it in the future.