WiFi Tracking

"...a few hundred meters away...."

Forget RFID. Well, don't, but National Scientific Corporation has a prototype of a WiFi tagging system that, like RFID, lets you track things in real-time and space. The advantage that the WiFi Tracker system has over passive RFID tracking is that you can keep tabs on objects with WiFi Tracker tags (which can hold up to 256K of data) from as far as a few hundred meters away (the range of passive RFID taggers is just a few meters). While you can do something similar with active RFID tags, with WiFi Tracker companies can use their pre-existing WiFi network to track things rather than having to build a whole new RFID system.

In other news, Apple is adding WiFi to the iPod.

And, of course, you can be tracked from your cellphone:

But the FBI and the U.S. Department of Justice have seized on the ability to locate a cellular customer and are using it to track Americans' whereabouts surreptitiously--even when there's no evidence of wrongdoing.

A pair of court decisions in the last few weeks shows that judges are split
on whether this is legal. One federal magistrate judge in Wisconsin on Jan.
17 ruled it was unlawful, but another nine days later in Louisiana decided
that it was perfectly OK.

This is an unfortunate outcome, not least because it shows that some judges
are reluctant to hold federal agents and prosecutors to the letter of the
law.

It's also unfortunate because it demonstrates that the FBI swore never to
use a 1994 surveillance law to track cellular phones--but then, secretly,
went ahead and did it, anyway.

Posted on February 14, 2006 at 1:29 PM • 39 Comments

Comments

John HarrisonFebruary 14, 2006 2:14 PM

I don't get it. Why is this news? 802.11 based tracking solutions are old news. They are commonly deployed in hospitals to track ever elusive pumps. What is the advantage of this system over others already on the market? What makes this worthy of note?

AnonymousFebruary 14, 2006 3:03 PM

Oh, yeah, I had another point.

Looks like bruce is just reminding us while letting us know that now your iPod will come with the latest version of wireless tracking^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H networking.

John EvansFebruary 14, 2006 3:11 PM

We have been doing it with bluetooth for a year now in this project http://loca.uiah.fi

The 'advantage' of bluetooth is that most devices like mobiles, which are personal devices, have bluetooth and are on even when they have been 'put away'

JDFebruary 14, 2006 3:17 PM

All us NCIS fans have long known that agent McGee can instantly bring up a map display showing the exact location of any cell phone. And what we see on TV must be true, right?.......

antibozoFebruary 14, 2006 3:26 PM

Some peripherally related items that may be of interest:

http://www.sciencenews.org/articles/20060211/...

"Electronic labels made from plastic semiconductors can now pick up and respond to radio signals at a frequency suitable for use on products. At an electronics conference in San Francisco this week, two European industrial-research teams described plastic radiofrequency-identification (RFID) prototypes with those advanced capabilities.

"Although silicon-based RFID tags are already in wide use—for instance, in so-called smart cards used to pay mass-transit fares—the new developments bring closer the prospect of RFID tags becoming as common as bar codes, or perhaps even more so, the researchers say. Besides labeling consumer products, plastic tags might make novel electronic tracking and transactions possible, from computer monitoring of what's in the refrigerator to mail routing by means of smart address labels."

For Science News subscribers only:

http://www.sciencenews.org/articles/20060114/...

In the 1980s, Henrik Wallin and Daniel Mascanzoni, both at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences in Uppsala, modified a skier-rescue system to track individual carabid beetles. The original system had included transponders made of a sturdy metal diode and a pair of antennas. Designed to be sewn into ski clothes or fastened onto boots, the transponders were far too big for a beetle...."

And:

".... the group recently managed to track [individual] butterflies for the first time with the true-radar transponders."

Ari HeikkinenFebruary 14, 2006 3:41 PM

Well, you can't prevent new technology from emerging. The problem isn't technology, it's always people.

antimediaFebruary 14, 2006 4:18 PM

Where to begin?

"But the FBI and the U.S. Department of Justice have seized on the ability to locate a cellular customer and are using it to track Americans' whereabouts surreptitiously--even when there's no evidence of wrongdoing."

This should been, even when they cannot/refuse to show probable cause that a crime has been committed. That's quite a bit different from willy-nilly tracking of innocent citizens. In the cases they cite, the government has claimed that the tracking requested was

"A pair of court decisions in the last few weeks shows that judges are split
on whether this is legal. One federal magistrate judge in Wisconsin on Jan.
17 ruled it was unlawful, but another nine days later in Louisiana decided
that it was perfectly OK."

Not surprising. Courts often disagree, especially when presented with different arguments. That's why we have an appeals system.

"This is an unfortunate outcome, not least because it shows that some judges
are reluctant to hold federal agents and prosecutors to the letter of the
law."

Um, no, it shows no such thing. Just because YOU think the law should be interpreted a certain way does not mean a judge who sees it differently is "reluctant to hold ....to the letter of the law". That judge may believe the letter of the law means something entirely different than what you do - as is evident if you read the opinions of each case (as I did.)

"It's also unfortunate because it demonstrates that the FBI swore never to
use a 1994 surveillance law to track cellular phones--but then, secretly,
went ahead and did it, anyway."

Ever heard of 9/11? Lots has changed since then.

M. FaradayFebruary 14, 2006 6:26 PM

I predict that iPod cases made of metallic materials will become popular accessories among the cognoscenti.

IanFebruary 14, 2006 6:57 PM

@M. Faraday

Well it's reasonably clear what that means from context, I'm curious to the literal translation of cognoscenti. I know diddly when it comes to latin, but my guess is something along the lines of "knowledge-aware"?

Davi OttenheimerFebruary 14, 2006 7:39 PM

What about Adi Shamir's announcement today on the cryptographer's panel that he's found a simple way to sniff RFID tag traffic and send them a self-destruct message?

While the FBI might be illegally tracking citizen whereabouts, this reminds me that anyone can 'inadvertantly' monitor cellphone conversations and notify the police (or they might just do it themselves):

http://www.wallywaller.com/4th/

"A citizen informant overheard a cellphone call on a police scanner and gave details to the police which supported stop. Inadvertant interception of cellphone call was not a violation of state or federal statute or constitutions."

http://www.nf2g.com/scannist/nys_laws.html

"The Supreme Court of Illinois recently announced a novel interpretation of ECPA. That Court says that receiving cellular calls on a "police scanner" does not violate federal law because a scanner is not "primarily useful" for intercepting cellphone calls in People v. Marcelo Ledesma (2003 Ill. LEXIS 409)."

Arturo QuirantesFebruary 15, 2006 2:28 AM

"Ever heard of 9/11? Lots has changed since then."

Not quite. You'd be surprised at how many big-brotherish schemes were designed, developed and put into the "inbox" tray BEFORE 9/11.

As Bruce Schneier wrote in his PGP user's guide so long ago:

"...while technology infrastructure can persist for generations, laws and policies can change overnight. Once a communications infrastructure optimized for surveillance becomes entrenched, a shift in political conditions may lead to abuse of this newfound power. Political conditions may shift with the election of a new government, OR PERHAPS MORE ABRUPTLY FROM THE BOMBING OF A FEDERAL BUILDING" (my emphasis)."

BaldyFebruary 15, 2006 7:26 AM

@antimedia "This should been, even when they cannot/refuse to show probable cause that a crime has been committed. That's quite a bit different from willy-nilly tracking of innocent citizens. In the cases they cite, the government has claimed that the tracking requested was"

What about all those useless leads being passed on to the FBI by the NSA following the widespread wiretapping of the phones of US citizens. It's starting to sound an awful lot like willy-nilly tracking of innocent citizens.

"Ever heard of 9/11? Lots has changed since then."

Nothing has changed since 9/11 except what people have allowed to have changed. As an example, in the 1970's the UK government was having a bit of a problem with the IRA. As a result of a number of high-profile bombings, the UK instituted internment of IRA "suspects" (i.e. northern-irish catholics found in the wrong place at the wrong time). This was allowed to happen because "everything had changed". The problem, of course, was no only did it not work, it made the situation worse, and directly led to the bloody Sunday masacre.

The problem with saying that something is excusable because "everything has changed" based upon one incident, is that people forget to analyse the possible outcomes of their choices. And rational discussion of security issues gets trumped by emotive rhetoric.

JDFebruary 15, 2006 8:38 AM

Somebody help me here if I'm wrong, but I believe there no legal "right to privacy" of radio transmissions. Meaning there is no law against anyone with a radio receiver listening to any signal that comes his way through public free space. Very different situation from wiretapping, which always involves intrusion.

JDFebruary 15, 2006 9:36 AM

"....by the NSA following the widespread wiretapping of the phones of US citizens."

There is a difference, you should know, between wiretapping phones of US citizens and intercepting conversations of overseas terrorists that happen to have a US phone on the other end. The former definitely requires a warrant, while the latter was a vital and proper intelligence activity that has now been destroyed by unscrupulous blabbermouths.

BaldyFebruary 15, 2006 10:42 AM

@JD "There is a difference, you should know, between wiretapping phones of US citizens and intercepting conversations of overseas terrorists that happen to have a US phone on the other end."

But if the NSA is only intercepting conversations of overseas terrorist that happen to have a US phone on the other end, the question has to be asked: how come they're not terrorists? Why has the NSA passed a "steady stream and then a flood" (see Bruce's January 18th posting) of phone numbers and e-mail addresses to the FBI "virtually all of which lead to dead-ends or innocent americans".

Clearly, then, these warrantless wire-taps are not being applied only to terrorists operating in the US. Clearly they are being applied to US citizens, which - as you rightly point out - require a wiretap.

JDFebruary 15, 2006 11:10 AM

@Baldy
When it comes to which three-letter security agency actually did what, it is impossible to separate fact from misinformation and disinformation without access to highly classified information (which isn't necessarily accurate or complete either).

About the only things we can say with confidence are that (a) the uproar has been driven by political attack goals and media sensation-mongering, and (b) whatever valid intelligence sources were involved no longer exist.

rogzogFebruary 15, 2006 8:44 PM

Quote:
"Somebody help me here if I'm wrong, but I believe there no legal "right to privacy" of radio transmissions. Meaning there is no law against anyone with a radio receiver listening to any signal that comes his way through public free space. Very different situation from wiretapping, which always involves intrusion."


Posted by: JD at February 15, 2006 08:38 AM

If this is true then "Dave" should not have a case against people intercepting DirectTV signals without a subscription, right? I doubt it.

Tobias WeisserthFebruary 15, 2006 8:46 PM

"And, of course, you can be tracked from your cellphone:"

Bruce, this ain't correct. Well not necessarily. I for example can't be tracked from my cellphone.

What's "to track someone"? Well, first of all you need to know the identity of this person you are going to track. You can't track someone if you don't know his identity. If you look at a set of blue dots and each of them is moving around, it's hard to keep track of a specific dot, since they are all alike, they are anonymous. If one of them is red, then it's easy to track it.

What's the "red" in cellphone tracking? The number that is connected to a specific realworld identity I want to track.

Am I a red dot in a set of otherwise blue dots? Certainly not.

I use prepaid cellphone accounts that I can purchase absolutely anonymously in Belgium. Such a prepaid account cannot be tracked to my realworld identity in any way since I don't pay it using "electronic" money. These cards are cheap and it is absolutely legal in Belgium. I can afford to switch to a new card very often since each card starts at prices like 15Euro with 10Euro allowance on it. They can be recharged anonymously. I can make national and international calls and I can use them in foreign countries (with very expensive roaming fees).

They might be able to track my cellphone but they cannot attach my identity to it, thus they cannot track me from my cellphone. They would have to listen to calls I make from the anonymous account and compare them to things I am known to have said on other channels and compare my voice. And this only works until I switch the card again.

Many countries have laws that do not permit anonymous cellphone accounts, Germany for example. I don't know about the US, are prepaid accounts available in the US?

Gopi FlahertyFebruary 16, 2006 12:52 AM

@Tobias:
"Many countries have laws that do not permit anonymous cellphone accounts, Germany for example. I don't know about the US, are prepaid accounts available in the US?"

I bought a prepaid SIM card in Germany about 2 years ago and didn't have to show any ID or anything else.

In the US, you can buy phones off the shelf with prepaid plans. They generally seem to ask you for information, but the level varies, and the ones I used didn't seem to either care, or verify the info.

So, yeah, in the US it isn't that hard to get prepaid without anybody knowing who you are.

Tobias WeisserthFebruary 16, 2006 4:34 AM

@Gopi

"I bought a prepaid SIM card in Germany about 2 years ago and didn't have to show any ID or anything else."

This is not possible anymore. You can't buy a SIM card anymore without having valid ID. They require either a national ID card or a passport.

It's the same in Switzerland I believe. They even cut off all the cards from the net that have been bought anonymously in the past if they didn't get registered afterwards.

antibozoFebruary 16, 2006 10:20 AM

Roger> It's not latin, although it ultimately derives from the latin verb cognoscere, "to be acquainted with", and presumably that in turn is derived from Classical Greek "gnosis", knowledge.

Latin "cognosco" does not derive from Greek "gnosis". It derives from the same Indo-European root (GNO) that Greek "gnosis" derives (via "gnoo"). The GNO root is expressed in English (not via Latin or Greek) as well, in the words "know", "can", [Scots] "ken", "couth", "kith", "keen", "cunning", et al.

wkwillisFebruary 16, 2006 4:55 PM

They don't need your identification to identify you. You cell phone gets tracked to your house, your place of work, your health club, your mother's house, your girlfriend's house, and they look for the Venn diagram intersection.
I have a Safeway card for someone else, and have had it for years. Safeway doesn't care, it's just one person's purchase habits they are tracking, after all.

RogerFebruary 16, 2006 9:15 PM

@wkwillis:
"You cell phone gets tracked to your house, your place of work, your health club, your mother's house, your girlfriend's house, and they look for the Venn diagram intersection."

Except that cellphone tracking is considerably less precise than that (unless you have a GPS enabled phone). If triangulation is specially set up for a surveillance operation, or (in the case of a CDMA network) if the major reflectors of the area have been surveyed in for rake fingers analysis, it can probably get down to a few hundred metres.

Otherwise, with the cellular network in normal operations, they can only identify what cell you are connected to. This generally ranges from a few blocks in urban areas to a couple of km in suburban areas to tens of km in rural areas. (In addition, in urban areas with notionally small cells, the cell you are connected to is not necessarily the same as your physical location, especially if you are in a high building.)

In short, cell phone company records are good for saying things like "you said you never left home that night, but we KNOW you went to the south side of town", but they can't identify the specific house or even the specific suburban neighbourhood you visited.

@antibozo:
> Latin "cognosco" does not derive from Greek "gnosis".

Hmm ... the etymology of cognoscere is generally accepted as being from cum + (g)noscere. Gnoscere is not just similar to the classical Greek verb "to know", which is gnoskein, the stem is literally a transliteration, and the conjugation is the one most often used for Greek loan words. However, I admit this is speculation (hence my "presumably").

> It derives from the same Indo-European root (GNO) that Greek "gnosis" derives (via "gnoo"). The GNO root is expressed in English (not via Latin or Greek) as well, in the words "know", "can", [Scots] "ken", "couth", "kith", "keen", "cunning", et al.

I am not a linguist, but I was rather under the impression that large chunks of the PIE theory (which always seemed to be based on rather infirm foundations) had been seriously thrown into doubt by genetic drift studies.

antibozoFebruary 16, 2006 11:06 PM

Roger> Gnoscere is not just similar to the classical Greek verb "to know", which is gnoskein, the stem is literally a transliteration.

I suggest you consult an etymological dictionary. "gnoscere" is not a transliteration of a Greek word; it is a Latin word descended from the same origin as the Greek word. Do you really think Latin had to borrow "to know" from Greek?

The Greek verb you are referring to has infinitive "gignoskein". I am not familiar with the form "gnoskein". "gnoo" is another form of this verb.

Roger> I am not a linguist, but I was rather under the impression that large chunks of the PIE theory ... had been seriously thrown into doubt by genetic drift studies.

I don't know about "large chunks"; regardless, it should be clear from the English words of Anglo-Saxon descent that GNO is a root in whatever theory you prefer, and that it expresses in many different language families. See also Sanskrit "janati", for example.

MozFebruary 17, 2006 1:01 AM

@roger

You are not correct about the accuracy of tracking. Apart from cell location, there is also signal strength and (in GSM) timing advance. These give the approximate distance from the transmitter. The network can ask the phone to report these measurements for all of the cells which they can currently detect. That allows triangulation and gives quite useful accuracy.

AnonymousFebruary 18, 2006 1:34 PM

Hi,

"They don't need your identification to identify you. You cell phone gets tracked to your house, your place of work, your health club, your mother's house, your girlfriend's house, and they look for the Venn diagram intersection."

There's one thing though. I live in a house with at least 120 other people. Which one am I? :-)

I work at a place with at least 600 other people living very close to each other. Which one am I? :-)

Apart from that: you can only prevent such a tracking when you log in with a card when you need it at public places. That way, you stay absolutely anonymous. Like I said, you can always combine this strategy with many different SIM cards and switch between them often. They are not expensive in Belgium.

"You are not correct about the accuracy of tracking. Apart from cell location, there is also signal strength and (in GSM) timing advance. These give the approximate distance from the transmitter. The network can ask the phone to report these measurements for all of the cells which they can currently detect. That allows triangulation and gives quite useful accuracy."

I can only agree. We used to do this when I served in the navy. Put three ships in the right places and you can pinpoint a GSM signal in between nicely. It doesn't even have to be logged into a net.

RogerFebruary 23, 2006 5:26 AM

@Moz:
> You are not correct about the accuracy of tracking. Apart from cell location, there is also signal strength

Are you sure about that? People have been looking at signal strength measurements for cell phone locating systems for emergency calling, and have had very little luck getting intelligible information from it in urban areas.

> and (in GSM) timing advance.

I was already alluding to this when I said "if triangulation is set up". However, timing advance is only measured to a maximum accuracy of 3.7 us (1/64th the maximum value of 233 us), corresponding to 550 m (each way) at the speed of light. By averaging the results from multiple BTS it is likely that this can be brought down to a few hundreds of metres, as I already said. Latapy's thesis, which I guess you've read if you're talking about this, estimated typical final errors from 180 m to 370 m depending on terrain. Other authors obtained similar results.

Further, at present these data are not normally recorded long term so even that accuracy is only available if the target mobile station is under surveillance.

RogerFebruary 23, 2006 5:46 AM

(Sorry folks, totally off topic, but hey, I find it interesting!)

@antibozo:
>> Gnoscere is not just similar to the classical Greek verb "to know", which is gnoskein, the stem is literally a transliteration.
> I suggest you consult an etymological dictionary.

I did consult an etymological dictionary, several in fact, and that was where I found "gnoskein" (I don't speak Greek myself, classical or modern). One dictionary suggested for etymology that (g)noscere was "akin" to gnoskein (rather hedging its bets on what "akin" means), and I couldn't help but notice that it wasn't so much "akin" as "identical":

> "gnoscere" is not a transliteration of a Greek word;

But they -- the stems, that is -- *are* a transliteration, regardless of ones theories; it is easily demonstrated by simply doing it! Take the stem of gnoskein (gnoske-) and compare to the stem of gnoscere (gnosce-). The only difference is that Greek K has become Roman C. (The Latin alphabet did have a K, which in early Latin was used for many words, but later in most of these the K was turned into C (c.f. Kalendae/Calendae) while the letter K was used almost exclusively for transliterating Greek loan words.)

> it is a Latin word descended from the same origin as the Greek word.

The other etymological dictionary offered the PIE theory, like this:
gnoscere "to come to know," from PIE base *gno- "know."
I am no expert in the matter but do know enough to understand that the asterisk before "gno-" means "hypothetical reconstruction". To put it another way, it is unproven that there actually existed any such thing as a PIE word "gno" which meant "know", but if there did -- if we accept that there was some ancestral language from which nearly all European languages were derived -- then gnoscere is probably derived from it.

However even if we go this far, that in no way precludes the possibility that it came via Greek! It is well known that there are Greek loan words in Latin (and presumably the other way round, too) -- the language even includes letters that were used exclusively for transliterating Greek loan words. Presumably PIE adherents believe that these all had a PIE origin, whether they arrived in Latin via Greek or some other route. (Hmm, interestingly, most of the ones that I know either seem to be related to philosophy or fishing, perhaps because they had to cross the Adriatic, and hence travelled either with seamen or those wealthy enough to travel).

> Do you really think Latin had to borrow "to know" from Greek?

No, I think they had their own perfectly good word already, "scire", and with it a family of related words (discere, sciens, scientia, conscius, praescius, etc.) I think (or rather, hypothesise on the strength of 15 minutes scanning) that scire words originally meant "to know" without any specific nuance, whereas "(g)noscere" words were borrowed from Greek and had a philosophical nuance, but these nuances seem to have reversed much later, perhaps in mediaeval Latin.

> The Greek verb you are referring to has infinitive "gignoskein". I am not familiar with the form "gnoskein". "gnoo" is another form of this verb.

I don't speak Greek, Classical or otherwise, I got "gnoskein" from an etymological dictionary. If I understand the rather dense abbreviations correctly (which I quite likely don't!), "gignoske-" comes from early Attic Greek (east coast and Aegean), while "gnoske-" comes from Doric Greek (west coast, and closer to Italy), the Attic form evolved into a "gnosoma-" form in Koine Greek, and earlier there was also an Archaic GINOSKO form. But at any rate, this is an evolutionary thing and it took various forms in various dialects and at different times.

>> I am not a linguist, but I was rather under the impression that large chunks of the PIE theory ... had been seriously thrown into doubt by genetic drift studies.

> I don't know about "large chunks"; regardless, it should be clear from the English words of Anglo-Saxon descent that GNO is a root in whatever theory you prefer, and that it expresses in many different language families. See also Sanskrit "janati", for example.


By "large chunks", I mean the whole PIE skeleton or shape of European languages evolving in the form of a tree, with a common trunk and spreading branches progressively less closely related, and never crossing or twining back over, each only having a single ancestor. It seems that PIE theorists long ago realised that arguing from similar words leads to blind alleys, but they thought that "morphological" features were reliable and stable over very long periods of time. By morphological features it is meant things like a language being inflected, or agglutinative, or possessing a dual as well as singular and plural. Anyway on the basis of this morphological analysis they established these great tree-like patterns of supposed ancestry between different European languages, and hence presumably the people who spoke those languages. But genetic studies showed that the results of those theories were largely wrong, and hence seriously called into question the stable morphology idea and the whole tree picture.

It may not be total rubbish -- at the beginning of the present interglacial about 12,000 - 10,000 years ago, parts of Europe which had been buried under ice became inhabitable again, and there was a great wave of migration into the continent. It is quite possible that, as PIE proponents argue, many or most of these people spoke a common language or a few related languages.

However it is unlikely that it proceeded from there in the manner of a tree, but rather in a far more complex and intertwined manner, continually exchanging artifacts, genes and ideas (the latter including language, technology and all the other aspects of culture). More interchange would have occurred between physically closer groups, but some even among the most distant (it doesn't take a lifetime to cross Europe, and then as some now some folk would have itchy feet). Not so much a tree as an ecosystem.

MiMarch 4, 2006 5:40 AM

hi i am much interested in the WiFi Tracking Mechanism since i am doing a project based on Wifi as a communication method having tracking. would anybody send me links related to the WiFi tracking methods and algorithms and any stuff quite related to this issue. thanks

antibozoMarch 7, 2006 11:46 AM

Roger> Take the stem of gnoskein (gnoske-) and compare to the stem of gnoscere (gnosce-). The only difference is that Greek K has become Roman C.

The only practical difference between the conjectured IE root GNO and Latin "gnoscere" is the "sc" element. This could have arisen many ways, potentially including, for example, fusion of GNO with "scire".

Roger> No, I think they had their own perfectly good word already, "scire", and with it a family of related words (discere, sciens, scientia, conscius, praescius, etc.

So would you argue that because Anglo-Saxon has "wit", English must have borrowed "know" from Classical Greek? The concept of "know" is very complex and nuanced, and it's hardly a surprise that a language would have multiple words for it. A conjectured original meaning of "scire" is "to cut through". "Wise" is cognate to Latin "videre", so its original meaning may have been connected with sight (but note that we also have "see").

Roger> I don't speak Greek, Classical or otherwise, I got "gnoskein" from an etymological dictionary.

It's fair to consider "gnoskein" a more root form in Greek, since the "gi" is a reduplicative prefix--a common feature of Classical Greek. Many perfect tenses are formed in a similar fashion. Nevertheless, I don't find "gnoskein" in my Liddell and Scott's Greek lexicon, which normally identifies major dialectical variants (e.g. it lists "ginosko" as an Ionic variant of "gignosko"). Also, you should know that it is more typical in the study of Classical Greek to cite verbs using a first-person singular form rather than an infinitive, though not everyone follows this convention.

Roger> However it is unlikely that it proceeded from there in the manner of a tree, but rather in a far more complex and intertwined manner, continually exchanging artifacts, genes and ideas (the latter including language, technology and all the other aspects of culture).

I don't think anyone currently argues that Indo-European languages arose in any form of strict tree system. Empire, invasion, trade, and diplomacy obviously all influenced language development profoundly. But it's pretty clear to most people that there is a collection of root words so widely distributed in antiquity that the most natural explanation is a protolanguage that precedes the major language families. When I say "gnoscere" derives from GNO, I am not claiming that everything anyone ever said about IE language origins is true. I am simply observing the fairly uncontroversial conjecture that there is GNO root in IE, and that, by Occam's Razor, if every other major language contains a form of GNO in antiquity, Latin should also. Certainly "gnoscere" *could* have derived from Greek, but it's not the simplest explanation unless there is other documentary evidence to go along with it.

JJMarch 19, 2007 3:50 PM

I would like to track calls coming and going from my mother's house. I would like to be able to view them online. And if at all possible I would like a recording of the conversations (optional). Do You have any ideas. My mother is 91 she has altzheimers and I want to know what her very move is. I have a caregiver that comes in daily, but I don't trust her either.
Do know what to do.

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