Want to track your boyfriend's every movement? Just slip this GPS tracker into his breakfast, and it will stay in his system for 72 hours - while you track him online. And there's more.

I recently got an email from a company called "Voss & Mauser" promoting their cool new implantable GPS devices, little chips that can triangulate their position using satellite signals. GPS technology is used in most cell phones these days, and allows you to use all those nifty mapping applications that tell you where you are (or where other people with smart phones are) on a map.

But Voss & Mauser say now you can locate somebody using this implantable GPS device, or by steathily feeding the tiny chip to somebody you want to track later. You can learn all about it if you visit to the slickly-designed Voss & Mauser site (sorry - it's in German, but anybody with a high school German class or Google Translate can get through it). You'll immediately see that Voss & Mauser's design - and their technology - is a bit too scifi to be true. It's a fun ARG-like experience, but I wanted to know more. So I wrote to their contact email, praising the site and asking if it were an ARG. I got back a form letter saying they'd had so much mail that I should just redirect all my questions to their "American distributor," whom they claimed is a company called Lightning GPS.


Now here's where things get interesting. Lighting GPS is actually a real company whose business model is only a tad less creepy than Voss & Mauser's fake one. They deal with law enforcement and consumers, selling stealth GPS tracking devices called "Nav Genius" that you can hide in the navigation systems of anybody's car. Lightning GPS recommend it specifically for spying on a spouse you think might be cheating on you, or restricting the movements of your teenager in his or her car (they point out that the device can be set up to send you an alert if the car goes into a "forbidden area").

I love the idea that the pranksters behind Voss & Mauser use their futuristic-creepy ARG to call attention to actually-existing technologies that help people invade each other's privacy in the most egregious way imaginable. You can bet that if Lightning GPS could build a swallowable, trackable GPS device, they would. And they'd sell it for "concerned spouses."


Check out Voss & Mauser, and then take a gander at Lightning GPS - this is social satire at its finest.