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Big Brother Is Paging You

6:00 PM -- Just when you thought mobile technology advances couldn't get any more Orwellian, a Scottish company called Trisent has come out with technology that allows managers to trace the whereabouts of employees at all times using conventional cell phones.

Without really explaining how the technology works, Trisent contrasts its system to GPS, which requires specialized handsets, and cell-ID location requests, which are both expensive and inaccurate.

The Trisent release manages to be at once upfront about the invasive nature of the technology, and slippery about the civil-liberties implications.

"There are real benefits for employers who need to keep track of their employees [sic] whereabouts for operational or security purposes," the company statement says. "They may also wish to view their previous locations for a wide variety of other reasons."

Mobile workers concerned about the prying eyes of their bosses can simply turn off the phones at the end of the day, says Gordon Povey, managing director of the firm. He also notes that clients must sign a "code of practice," and the mobile phones inform the user that their whereabouts are being monitored.

Imagine my relief. Call me when you get Osama Bin Laden to buy one.

— Richard Martin, Senior Editor, Unstrung

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