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Mobile phones to join war on crime

By Pia Turunen

Mobiles could track children and offer disaster advice
Mobiles could track children and offer disaster advice

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CANNES, France (CNN) -- Mobile phones could soon become important tools in disaster prevention and the fight against crime, industry experts are predicting.

Applications such as terrorist alert services, burglary prevention tools and surveillance technology could become commonplace mobile technology within the next few years.

Services such as the City Alert Texting System, which will alert people of any possible bomb attack or disaster, are already in place in large European cities such as London.

And most European tech providers cooperate with the police by giving out location data in case of an emergency or detailing the call history of a suspected criminal.

But experts at the world's largest mobile phone event 3GSM, in Cannes, France, predicted the next step would be a rapid rise of commercial applications aimed at individuals and families.

David Levin, CEO of Symbian, a joint tech venture between major mobile handset makers said he has already witnessed a growing demand for security devices.

"Some of the simplest applications are already out there, such as home watch alerts by SMS. But I can see a rise in personal protection technology such as child tracking and other surveillance applications utilising the camera phone technologies," he said.

Many conference gurus see mobile phone becoming a "life tool" -- a device which may include a type of sensing technology for monitoring the user's heart beat.

As technology becomes cheaper, the mobile phone principle can be adopted as part of the care routine of the elderly and children.

Personal protection devices may at first seem intrusive but acceptance will grow as tech devices become essential part of people's lives, according to Robert Wakeling, director of product strategy at mobile content specialist Magic4.

"Many parents today want to give their child a mobile phone so they can keep an eye on them.

"There will be a rash of new technologies emerging such as tagging young children's clothing with mobile chip to track their movements on the playground. This may sound odd today, but could easily be an everyday reality in 10 years time," he said.


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CNN.com does not endorse external sites.
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