Other People’s IP: New Disclosures

Invention: “Location and notification tracking system”

Filing Date: July 25, 2013

Publication Date: May 1, 2014

Description: The invention described in this application is a system for tracing the movement of a subject within an identified area, which also sends alert notifications when the subject goes beyond the boundaries of the identified area. Specifically, the moving subject has a transmitter, and the party wishing to track the subject has a transmitter. The subject’s transmitter sends movement notifications to the supervisory person’s transmitter to let them know about the changing location of the subject and if the subject moves beyond selected boundaries. The inventor of this system specifies that it was developed to combat the abduction of children through offering caretakers a method of tracking and tracing their children in real-time.

Discussion: When I came upon this patent, I immediately thought of Torin Monahan’s research looking at the use of RFID chips in hospitals (For example, elements of the article “Dreams of Control at a Distance: Gender, Surveillance, and Social Control”). In this work, Monahan shows his readers how something that ostensibly appears helpful – tracking and tracing hospital equipment and staff throughout a hospital building so that staff and equpiment can be found quickly in an emergency – can actually have detrimental impacts. For example, the re-locating of hospital machines and equipment (and tracing them to ensure they stay in these new locations), can disrupt how nurses have previously organized the equipment (in-line with their specialized knowledge of how it is most useful and regularly used) – ultimately making access to the tools less efficient instead of more so. With this in mind, as tracking and tracing becomes increasingly ubiquitous, and more and more everyday subjects are latently surveilled, I wonder what unintended, and perhaps unwanted, other effects might become identifiable and how they will be addressed socially and technologically.

CLICK HERE for full patent application.

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Creator: “Bosonic dressing”
Copyright: Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported

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