Most of us probably remember playing hide-and-seek as a kid. There seemed to be so many places where we could seek cover and never be found. Today, finding a place where you can't be seen is becoming increasingly difficult. Surveillance cameras seem to watch our every move. They're in stores, our offices, over our roads, even in our homes. Soon, cameras will be augmented by new tracking technologies that will detect our wireless devices, too.


Photo courtesy Digital Angel Corporation
By the end of 2001, location-tracking technologies will be able to locate people nearly anywhere.

By using global positioning system (GPS) satellites and local, land-based networks, these new systems will use wireless radio signals to find you wherever you are. If your cell phone is equipped with a GPS receiver, as will be required by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) beginning in October 2001, it will be nearly impossible to conceal your location. (Developers have assured consumers that they will be able to opt out of these networks and remain anonymous if they so choose.)

The use of location-tracking technologies means that people will be easier to find during emergencies. But it also means that marketers will be able to send us unsolicited advertising on our cell phones as we pass by or through retail stores. In this edition of How Stuff WILL Work, we will look at three types of location-tracking technology and see how they will be able to seek you out no matter where you're hiding.