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Tracking truants via iPhone GPS

A PRESTIGIOUS Japanese university is giving away hundreds of iPhones, in part to use its Global Positioning System to nab students that skip class.

Truants in Japan often fake attendance by getting friends to answer roll-call or hand in signed attendance cards. That's verging on cheating since attendance is a key requirement for graduation in Japanese universities.

Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo is giving Apple Inc's iPhone 3G to 550 students in its School of Social Informatics, which studies the use of Internet and computer technology in society.

The gadget will work as a tool for studies, but it also comes with GPS, a satellite navigation system that automatically checks on its whereabouts - a convenient way to prove attendance.

Students, who skip class, could still fake attendance by giving their iPhone to a friend who goes to class. But they aren't likely to lend their mobile phones, which are packed with personal information and e-mail, the university said. The iPhone will be used to relay course materials, lecture videos and tests.


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