Satellites track Mexico kidnap victims?

I’m trying to figure out what’s up with this story… People are getting kidnapped – got that part, so they’re getting RFID chips implanted… which helps how? Snippet from the article

The chips cost $4,000 plus an annual fee of $2,200….

Xega, based in the central Mexican city of Quererato, designed global positioning systems to track stolen vehicles until a company owner was kidnapped in broad daylight in 2001. Frustrated by his powerlessness to call for help, the company adapted the technology to track stolen people.

Most people get the chips injected into their arms between the skin and muscle where they cannot be seen. Customers who fear they are being kidnapped press a panic button on an external device to alert Xega which then calls the police.

“Before, they only kidnapped key, well-known economically successful people like industrialists and landowners. Now they are kidnapping people from the middle class,” said Sergio Galvan, Xega’s commercial director.

…Xega sees kidnapping as a growth industry and is planning to expand its services next year to Brazil, Colombia and Venezuela.

How does a RFID chip help at all? If you’re going to get kidnapped you need some other device that you have with, once your kidnapped then what? Do kidnappers allow you to keep this other device? Are their RFID readers all over the place in Mexico for a system like to to work.

Anyone know or have some guesses?

More:

From the pages of MAKE:
Make Pt0940
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12 thoughts on “Satellites track Mexico kidnap victims?

  1. They are tracked by another device which transmits their GPS coords and RFID info via satellite to Xega.

    So it only helps you if you get kidnapped with the transmission unit.

    “Please, I have to have my fanny pack to get kidnapped!”

  2. Actually, I think the point is that the pocket device transmits location periodically, and if it stops seeing the RFID chip, it likely sends an alarm. If nothing else, the location at which the kidnap took place will be known…

  3. A good way to have a part of your body cut by someone.
    Kidnappers are not really gentle peoples and I guess that if they “detect” (assuming they have ways to know you’re tagged) something in you, you should really worry for what’s happening next !

  4. I don’t think the original article mentioned RFID anywhere. Neither passive or active RFID beacons are strong enough to transmit to orbiting satellites. Xega probably developed their own satellite communication chip that is not part of the RFID standard.

    I don’t see why there needs to be a button for “Help I am being kidnapped.” I would assume if you have family or friends that notice you missing, they should be able to contact the police and they can access your GPS location through some sort of web interface.

    But, I guess if the kidnappers put you in a big grounded metal box (Faraday Cage) the satellites would never see you or your transmitters signal. Or maybe the kidnappers could purchase and modify one of the radio/cell signal jammers that they sell on this site.

  5. You appear to be correct, the implant is only for ID purpose, the larger unit is the gps with a panic button. This news article points out that it could be a gadget scam:

    “Katherine Albrecht, a U.S. consumer privacy activist, says the chip is a flashy, overpriced gadget that only identifies a person and cannot locate someone without another, bigger GPS device that kidnappers can easily find and destroy.”

    source:
    http://snipurl.com/3jo3x [www_euractiv_com]

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