When a sticky-fingered thief pilfers your laptop, you rarely get a chance to track him down – unless you use Prey, that is. We've already covered how to use the GPS-enabled, screenshot-sending program to recover your notebook in just that circumstance, but creative researchers at MIT have started using Prey for a more humane effort. They've begun installing the software on second-hand electronics sent to developing countries in Indonesia, South Asia and Africa to help charities put a face to people who are helped by the donations.
The guys and gals at MIT's Senseable City Lab came up with the project, which is dubbed Backtalk, CNET reports. They installed Prey on second-hand netbooks and smartphones, then disseminated them with the help of nonprofit organizations. Every 20 minutes, Prey records the GPS location of the device and snaps a shot with the device's camera, letting the MIT gang know exactly where the donation ended up – and see the face of the person benefiting from it.
Take a chill pill, privacy advocates; we already hear you grumbling. The Backtalk program only tracks devices after the new owners agree to it, and stickers explaining the program are affixed to the case of all affected electronics. The stickers (Shown above) are written in the tongue of the person receiving the device.