Polaris solution goes undercover to help track criminals overseas
The rest of the world might be lagging behind the United States when it comes to emergency calling systems, but at least two overseas countries are well ahead of the U.S. when it comes to the tracking of criminal suspects. So says Manlio Allegra, CEO of Polaris Wireless, a vendor of wireless location-based services.
Three years ago, the company launched its Wireless Location Signatures solution, which leverages RF pattern-matching technology, Allegra said. The solution lets law-enforcement agencies track the whereabouts and movements of suspected criminals. The stack resides on the agency’s communications network. When activated, it sends a silent page to the suspect’s phone; once the page is received, the suspect’s phone then transmits the location data needed to do the tracking back to the network. All of this occurs without the suspect realizing it.
The implications of such a capability would be enormous for law enforcement, Allegra said. For example, the solution could trigger an alarm when two or more known criminals or suspects meet. Also, studies have shown that people’s movements are highly predictable, he said. So, long-term tracking of known suspects could help law-enforcement and homeland-security officials prevent major crimes and terrorist attacks.
For security reasons, Allegra declined to identify which two countries the solution has been deployed in, only saying that the first deployment was in the Middle East. So far, the company has found no takers in the U.S., which has more-stringent privacy laws compared with the rest of the world.
“In the U.S., this would require a warrant because of the privacy laws,” Allegra said. “In some countries, the level of privacy laws is much lower and less restrictive.”
Allegra agreed that some level of privacy protection should be afforded to citizens — “There has to be some limits, because we’re talking about the power of government” — but believes that laws could be amended to allow a solution that not only would help to catch criminals but also to predict what they might do next.
“Think about the power of something like this,” he said. “In my mind, this is an incredible tool that one day will become as indispensible as 911 is today.”