Spooked by gadgets

Postmodern animism
Recently a friend forwarded me a cautionary e-mail. It reported that a couple in Canada had parked for an errand, and as they walked away from their car, the driver used the remote on his key fob to lock the doors. When the Can adians returned to their car five minutes later, it had been stripped of a laptop and a cell phone. The police were summoned. After finding no signs of breaking and entering, they informed the unlucky pair that brainy car jackers are now able to pick up the signal transmitted from a key fob and duplicate it to gain entry.

The e-mail urged new habits: manually lock all doors before leaving your car, and never again use that handy key fob locker-upper. The e-mail was bolstered by a note that several police departments had confirmed this newfangled criminal activity. And so had Snopes.com, the Web site devoted to debunking urban legends.


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