is really making it difficult for me. I write about military or government type heroes and heroines and these people have to be pretty tech savvy. A hero and heroine can’t simply go missing these days unless they have carefully planned to go completely off the grid. And I do mean completely off.
With all this modern-day technology how can my hero or heroine get lost and need help? GPS devices are everywhere, watches, phones, and people who are regularly put in danger are carrying little GPS tracking devices. Tires have GPS chips in them. Supposedly it's to determine the wear and tear on the tire so they can make a better product. When tires are traded those chips, so I'm told, can accurately tell everyplace the tires went. And if push comes to shove along with a court order, they could possibly be used to locate a vehicle.
Satellites can take pictures of license plates. Silent remote-controlled drones and helicopters can buzz only feet away and take pictures. And you won't know they were there. Most establishments have cameras. Inside and out. Facial recognition programs are used at transportation hubs and police departments around the world. All the software needs is a current photo of you and the computer scans all the faces for a match. The US Department of Justice operates one of the largest systems in the world with over 75 million photographs that are actively used. Even Disney uses them. Really?!?
From space, heat signature devices can tell how many people are in a building. Phones can pinpoint an owners location. Planes have locator transponders. Credit card use can be relayed to the authorities minutes after they've been used. If you post on Facebook it knows where you are and can tell everybody.
The high-tech security locks on new vehicles can be short-circuited with a laptop and a $50 software program. All one of these needs is the vehicle VIN number. Easily seen from outside the car BTW. The thief codes the Vin number into a laptop, hits a couple of keys and by gosh by golly the locks pop and the ignition starts. If someone steals your iPad, smart phone, or laptop there are apps that can track it. So, if you can track it if it's been stolen somebody can sure as heck track you as the owner.
You can’t even put your hero and heroine at the bottom of the ocean because Bob Ballard or James Cameron will be sure to find them. And get this. At the South Pole there is this new building, two stories high. It's off the ground on pillars or stilts or something and those stilts can raise the building up even higher off the ground should the snow get that bad. It was built with a slope to help it withstand the 60 mile an hour winds that Antarctica has during the winter. It houses several different types of scientific labs and a greenhouse where fresh vegetables are grown. Head smack. You can't even make your characters uncomfortable at the South Pole.
A while back I watched one of my favorite movies Rear Window with Jimmy Stewart and Grace Kelly. That movie couldn't be made today. Absolutely all of the tension was built on the fact that Grace Kelly went across the courtyard to the murderer’s apartment and had no contact with Jimmy. No communication. The tension was built when Stewart could see the bad guy coming and he had no way to tell Kelly. That wouldn't happen today.
With all the technology we have today I have no idea how any criminal can get away with anything. I swear I'm ready to start setting my stories in the 60s and 70s. Phones had cords and busy signals. Computer processors took up the whole room and you didn't need to experience a cavity search to get on a plane. Cars didn’t parallel park for you and tell you where to go.
And it's little off-topic here but… If all this is true about those Secret Service agents in Cartagena, what were they thinking? Can anyone say phone cameras and YouTube?