by Al Sacco

New GPS App for BlackBerry, WinMo Locates Kidnapped Execs–and Wayward Staffers

May 01, 20093 mins
MobileSmall and Medium Business

If you’re a road warrior who consistently finds yourself in less-than-safe environs during travels, you may want to take a look at a new software application for BlackBerry and Windows Mobile devices that lets your employers keep tabs on your whereabouts via your GPS-enabled smartphone. But be forewarned, the Executrac Mobile GPS Tracker from BrickHouse Security also enables your company to track you without your knowledge, wherever you may roam.

Executrac Mobile GPS Tracker
Executrac Mobile GPS Tracker

Companies can remotely and “invisibly” deploy Executrac to as many corporate devices as needed, presumably via a BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) or Microsoft Exchange Server. The program runs completely unbeknownst to users, and can be activated at any time by administrators, but users can also trigger the tracking functionality in emergency situations via a “panic button.”

The software is designed to be a last resort for folks who find themselves in potentially-life threatening situations while traveling.

A Web-based mapping platform shows administrators employee locations in real-time, accurate within 15 to 50 feet (5 to 15 meters). And the program integrates with Google Earth, so those admins can get a look at remote employee surroundings.

Admins can also set “geofence safety zone alerts” so they’re notified when staffers leave designated safe zones. And BrickHouse claims that Executrac Mobile consumes less than 15 percent of your smartphone’s battery life over a 24-hour period, so it shouldn’t significantly affect device performance.

That’s all fine and good if you’re traveling to Qatar or Juarez–just look how pleased the executive in the Executrac image (above) is to not be kidnapped. However, the fact that the application can be enabled without any sort of notification to users is disconcerting to me.

One line from BrickHouse’s site in particular rubs me the wrong way: “…an employee will never be tipped off to the fact that their BlackBerry is doing double duty as a covert GPS Tracker.” That just sounds like it could’ve come directly from the tongue of Big Brother himself.

I’ve reviewed a number of smartphone-based GPS tracking services, including TeleNav Track, and they all had some sort of privacy protection measures, which Executrac seems to lack.

The app costs $19.99 for “unlimited tracking. But then again, can you really put a price on not being kidnapping in a strange land?

Executrac works on most popular BlackBerry devices, but the company does not yet support the Storm 95xx. Windows Mobile devices like the AT&T Tilt, Motorola Q9h and Samsung BlackJack II are also supported. For a full list of compatible devices, as well as additional details on the product, visit BrickHouse’s site.

Note: BrickHouse also offers a variety of additional gizmos and gadgets to satisfy all of your espionage-related needs, including “007 Spy Gear.”



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