With a number of security news highlights from around the world, this week saw GPS, hidden cameras, and more used to crack down on crime and make the world a better place. Here are some of our favorites.
Using GPS and Satellites to Kill Polio
The Bill Gates Foundation has helped implement a polio eradication program that relies on GPS and satellite photos to bring the vaccine to even the poorest and most remote villages in the world. Using GPS-enabled phones, coordinators can ensure that they don’t miss a single village, home, or gathering place in the parts of the world where polio remains a threat. Although the absence of cell service in some parts of Africa is making the task more challenging, the ability to track the geographic progress of vaccination teams is proving an essential advantage in their effort to finally eliminate the disease completely.
Hidden Camera Captures U.S. Serviceman’s First Reunion with Family
A U.S. Air Force Staff Sergeant got the chance for some home leave, and he upped the ante with his surprise return. He got home while both his mom and sister were out and carefully positioned a hidden camera to capture their reaction when he surprised them with his presence. Although there aren’t a lot of details about this story, it shows the power of a candid video – the mom and sister gush with family love that they don’t know was being recorded for posterity. Watch the video below:
Public GPS Makes Riding the Dallas Bus System More Efficient
The worst thing about waiting for the bus is not knowing if it will come on time or not. To combat this frustration, a bus line in Dallas has installed GPS into its new fleet of buses. Similar to the program being tested on select bus lines in New York City, this program enables those waiting on the bus to check for delays using their smartphones. Knowing when the next bus will arrive at their stop lets riders plan their days better, especially during extreme weather conditions. The extra information has also proven to be a great PR tool; people are less likely to complain about a bus running late when they know how soon it will arrive.
U.S. Hospitals Using Surveillance Cameras to Improve Staff
According to a Journal of the American Medical Association article discussed on MinnPost.com, hospitals across the country are installing security cameras, sometimes secretly, to help them solve a number of problems with staff behavior and performance. Hospitals are addressing issues ranging from hand-washing compliance to the quality of routine diagnostic procedures to disruptive behavior among staff. Experts believe that when medical professionals know they’re being recorded, they tend to be more thorough and less likely to perform unnecessary medical procedures, making it a win-win for patients and the medical industry.
UK Family Uses Spy Camera to Catch Thieving Caregiver
A UK family suspected that their 81-year-old family matron’s caregiver was stealing cash from her purse, so they secretly hid a security camera under a stuffed teddy bear to monitor her actions. The plot was immediately successful and caught the 28-year-old helper sneaking £40 (about $60) from her charge’s purse. And just like that, she was convicted and sentenced to 13 months in jail; this being her second offense.
Bangkok Passenger Van Accidents Fall Due to GPS Implementation
Bangkok, Thailand has always had a problem with road safety, and the reliance on small passenger vans to help people reach the busy inner city for work and then return home in the evenings played a central part in the high frequency of accidents. Although a number of factors contributed to the problem, dealing with reckless drivers is a major priority, and a combination of GPS trackers and radio-frequency identification tags (RFID) allowed government officials to regularly check the speed of passenger vans at various points around the capital; this resulted in a slew of fines, with repeat offenders losing their licenses. Thousands of speeding drivers have been taken off the roads and accident numbers are falling as the government looks to expand the GPS and RFID program to other forms of transport.