Where's my phone? A couple in Atlanta don't have it
Smartphones are a hot commodity, meaning thieves want them, but they are also relatively small and easily lost or forgotten. There's an app for that. Well, several apps in fact. Creating ways to find misplaced or stolen phones has become a cottage industry, but these products have limitations.
Locating a device isn't an exact science. It's more just narrowing down an area and then making it a guessing game through triangulation via cell towers -- although using GPS works rather better.
This imprecise nature has caused major problems for one couple, Christina Lee and Michael Saba, of Atlanta, Georgia. They regularly have visitors knock on their door asking for the return of a handset. They don't have it, an answer that causes the conversation to go downhill quickly and has also lead to one police search of their home.
"My biggest fear is that someone dangerous or violent is going to visit our house because of this. If or when that happens, I doubt our polite explanations are gonna go very far", Saba told Fusion in an email.
Security firm Sophos points out that "That’s right -- find-my-phone features can provide the approximate location, but some quirks in how they use geolocation can make them inaccurate enough to cause some confusing and unfortunate incidents".
The couple is not the first to have this problem. Wayne Dobson of Las Vegas, Nevada also ran afoul of these errors in precision and police in Sherwood, Nottingham, England broke down a door in pursuit of a device that wasn't actually there.
For their part, Lee and Saba have filed complaints with the FCC and their senator. No real solution to the problem looms on the horizon, however. For now, "good enough" is the best you're going to get.