Automatic encryption for laptops

— 5:52 PM on August 15, 2002

Countless government officials, business executives, and even U2's Bono have lost laptops containing secret or otherwise sensitive information, but as New Scientist reports, technology has come to the rescue.

A radio transceiver installed inside the laptop's casing is programmed to identify its owner by means of a small transmitter worn like a wristwatch. This lets the laptop know how far away its master is. Whenever separated by a set distance, automatic encryption of data is triggered.
Encrypting data automatically is a great idea, but it doesn't solve the problem of losing the laptop in the first place. Perhaps the wrist watches will emit an audible beep when the subject moves too far from the laptop and data is encrypted. It would be low tech, but it might prevent laptop owners from leaving their machines in coffee shops, airport security checkpoints, and out in the back yard.
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