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Some Military Bases on Alert for Coke's GPS Promotion
AP ^ | June 29, 2004

Posted on 07/01/2004 7:09:26 PM PDT by nuconvert

Some Military Bases on Alert for Coke's GPS Promotion

Ellen Simon/Associated Press

Jul 1, 2004

NEW YORK (AP) - There's a new security threat at some of the nation's military bases - and it looks uncannily like a can of Coke. Specially rigged Coke cans, part of a summer promotion, contain cell phones and global positioning chips. That has officials at some installations worried the cans could be used to eavesdrop, and they are instituting protective measures.

Coca-Cola Co. says such concerns are nothing but fizz.

Mart Martin, a Coca-Cola spokesman, said no one would mistake one of the winning cans from the company's "Unexpected Summer" promotion for a regular Coke.

"The can is dramatically different looking," he said. The cans have a recessed panel on the outside and a big red button. "It's very clear that there's a cell phone device."

Winners activate it by pushing the button, which can only call Coke's prize center, he said. Data from the GPS device can only be received by Coke's prize center. Prizes include cash, a home entertainment center and an SUV.

"It cannot be an eavesdropping device," he said.

Nonetheless, military bases, including the U.S. Army Armor Center at Fort Knox, Ky., are asking soldiers to examine their Coke cans before bringing them in to classified meetings.

"We're asking people to open the cans and not bring it in if there's a GPS in it," said Master Sgt. Jerry Meredith, a Fort Knox spokesman. "It's not like we're examining cans at the store. It's a pretty commonsense thing."

Sue Murphy, a spokeswoman for Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio said personal electronic devices aren't permitted in some buildings and conference rooms on base.

"We've taken measures to make sure everyone's aware of this contest and to make sure devices are cleared before they're taken in" to restricted areas, she said.

"In the remote possibility a can were found in one of these areas, we'd make sure the can wasn't activated, try to return it to its original owner and ask that they activate it at home," she said. "It's just another measure we have to take to keep everyone out here safe and secure."

The Marine Corps said all personnel had been advised of the cans and to keep them away from secure areas.

Paul Saffo, research director at The Institute for the Future, a technology research firm, compared the concern about the Coke cans to when the Central Intelligence Agency banned Furbies, the stuffed toys that could repeat phrases.

"There's things generals should stay up late at night worrying about," he said. "A talking Coke can isn't one of them."

But Bruce Don, a senior analyst at the Rand Corp. said the military's concern is rational and appropriate.

"There's a lot of reason to worry about how that technology could be taken advantage of by a third party without Coke's knowledge," he said.

"I wouldn't worry if one was in my refrigerator, but if you had a sensitive discussion or location, it's not inconceivable the thing could be used for something it was not designed for," he said.

Martin said Thursday the world's largest soft drink maker has received phone calls inquiring about the promotion from Hill Air Force Base in Ogden, Utah, and from a military base in Anchorage, Alaska. The callers did not mention any concerns, and Coke has not been contacted by the bases in Ohio and Kentucky, Martin said.

Asked if Coke would curtail the promotional campaign because of the security issues raised, Martin said, "No. There's no reason to."


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: can; coke; eavesdropping; gps

1 posted on 07/01/2004 7:09:27 PM PDT by nuconvert
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To: nuconvert
"It cannot be an eavesdropping device," he said.

No never, never, never.......

No virus can 'escape' our labs.......

Our labs cannot be penetrated,.....by Chinese or Coke!

/sarcasm

2 posted on 07/01/2004 7:39:26 PM PDT by maestro
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To: maestro
You got that right.

"Professor Goddard ... does not know the relation of action to reaction ...
he only seems to lack the knowledge ladled out daily in our high schools"
[New York Times, January 13, 1920]

"Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible."
[Lord Kelvin, president, Royal Society, 1895]

"Airplanes are interesting toys but of no military value."
[Marechal Ferdinand Foch, Professor of Strategy, Ecole Superieure de Guerre]

"I think there is a world market for maybe five computers."
[Thomas Watson, chairman IBM, 1943]

"There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home."
[Ken Olson, Chairman and founder Digital Equipment Corp., 1977]

"640K ought to be enough for anybody."
[Bill Gates, 1981]

3 posted on 07/01/2004 8:06:03 PM PDT by Diogenesis (We do only what we are meant to do)
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To: Diogenesis
Lovely quotes. Though I must sit and wonder; since these promo cases are ending up being sent overseas, I wonder if our troops in Afghanistan might expect a Coke prize patrol to show up?

I can see it now: [Inside Coke Promotions Command Center]

Operator: Sir! We just got a signal!

Supervisor: Wonderful!

Distant Voice: Hello?

Operator: Congratulations, you've just won a brand new SUV! We're going to rush that right out to you; just stay where you are and we'll pick up the signal off of...

Distant Voice: [laughter can be heard]

Operator: Umm, sir? I think the GPS signal is a bit wonky today...

Supervisor: What do you mean?

Operator: Well, take a look where the map shows the can to be...

Distant Voice: My commander says we'll be here until 06:00 tomorrow morning, and wants to know if you can put a couple cases of TP in the back of the SUV when you bring it out; we're a bit short.

Supervisor: Do we even have a distributor over there?
4 posted on 07/01/2004 9:10:10 PM PDT by kingu (Which would you bet on? Iraq and Afghanistan? Or Haiti and Kosovo?)
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