Search for a missing one

When I had a short visit near Lilienfeld in Austria, the news were all about a young guy, who went missing after a concert on a school holiday’s evening. Franz Kendler has not returned home to this day, but there are other things to the search that are the mention worth.

Fotos: BI Werner Planer, FF Wiesenfeld (from this article)

The villages in the area are those small ones with only a few hundred inhabitants, and since this case was the most important news around, I heard the gossips right after crossing the town sign. Therefore, most of the information I had were guesses – ranged from optimistic to pessimistic, and even some dark ones involving pedophiles, a stranger immigrant girl’s family, alcohol overload, new kinds of drugs, and my favorite: the Chinese mob.

Gossips is nothing new though. What I’ve found interesting is how small part modern technology was playing here. Even in a world with smart phones, all day data and network connection, the most peaces of information coming from these devices was, where the phone was last connected to the network – for me, this was rather scary.

A few years ago, as an ad creative, I was working with a worldwide security services group on a product for parents: it was a simple alert system for young children, with a permanent GPS connection and a 15-minute response unit. Since then, this technology got really cheap: nowadays you can follow your friends on Latitude, check your iPhone’s position via iCloud, and there are apps specially designed for parents.

Only one thing left unchanged: if you are alone with no one listening to those signals, even after a few hours, there is not a lot of chance to track you down. It seems to be therefore that to be on the safe side, you are better of to take some friends with you everywhere – all those apps and fancy devices are good for gaining false confidence only.

Without friends looking after us, we better don’t get lost – otherwise the only chance left may be a milk carton campaign.