University uses location-based solutions to catch curfew breakers

PUBLISHED : Monday, 15 April, 2013, 3:52pm
UPDATED : Monday, 15 April, 2013, 4:44pm

A Chinese academic has created a new application integrated with location-based technology that supposedly helps university instructors catch truanting students who break evening curfew, the Chengdu Business Daily reports.

Sui Guohui, assistant dean of the Southwestern University of Finance and Economics' Tian Fu College, designed the software, which enforces an 11pm curfew by forcing students to “sign in” with their smart phones before bedtime.

After “signing in”, the software’s AutoNavi positioning system relays the student's location back to the instructor. AutoNavi is the same software that provides mapping data for the Maps app on Chinese iPhones.

The mapping system pin-points the approximate location of each student within a certain radius. A dot outside the cluster of 300 or so student “sign ins” will reveal that a student is out of range and thus, off campus.

Students dubbed the new program “the sleep checker” and criticised the software for being a blatant invasion of privacy. Legal experts, however, say the rather limited range of the tracking system means it is not privacy invading in a legal sense.

According to the Daily report, students have already found ways to flout the system, including getting a roommate to help them sign in on a web-based version or with a second mobile phone.