Bad Ideas: Stealing Products That Can Be Tracked Wirelessly
from the just-a-suggestion dept
Slashdot points us to the amusing story of technology “solving” a theft of an irrigation controller on a farm, thanks to a wireless connection. The irrigation controller was stolen, which was first noticed when it sent an error message to the guy who runs them. A few weeks later, though, he was surprised to get a signal from the controller, and he was able to communicate with the device and get the company that supplied the wireless connection to triangulate and reveal the general location of the unit (the guy had the maker of the controller, who obviously contracts with the wireless provider, request this info to make sure the request was legit). From that, the guy used Google Earth to figure out where the controller must be — and went to the local police. After investigating the person whose property it ended up on, the controller went missing again… only to turn back up in its original location a few weeks later.
While it’s a neat story of technology thwarting a theft, there are a few questions raised by the story. To be honest, the full writeup so pumps up this particular brand of irrigation controller system, that it almost sounds like an apocryphal story made up to hype up how much better this controller is than competitors (look, it’s theft proof!). Also, despite the “happy ending” — the actual thieves were not apprehended, and future thieves will simply learn to disable the wireless communications ability. In the meantime, though, it’s a reminder that technology is making the job of the ordinary thief somewhat more difficult these days.