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This week in tracking technology

The government and Gateway announced separate efforts this week aimed at keeping better track of people and laptops, respectively.

The federal government and computer maker Gateway announced separate efforts this week aimed at keeping better track of people and laptops, respectively.

The Department of Homeland Security is testing immigration documents laced with radio frequency identification chips at five spots on the Mexican and Canadian borders.

The goal of the technology is to speed up--if not automate--secure entry and exit of visitors at the nation's ports, according to the Department of U.S. Homeland Security.

The chips are embedded in Customs and Border Protection Form I-94A, which the government issues at all ports of entry to chart the departure and arrival of certain foreign visitors--typically those with nonimmigrant visas, such as students and guest workers. At the test sites, chip readers note the movement of visitors who pass by and transmit that information to a government-maintained database.

Meanwhile, Gateway is beefing up security by plugging devices into its machines, including a LoJack-style technology to help customers track down lost or stolen laptops.

The Mobile Theft Protection product, which uses technology from Absolute Software's Computrace, includes a so-called Data Delete feature that removes sensitive personal or corporate data by remote control.

Once the device is activated, Absolute Software guarantees the recovery of the computer. If the laptop is not recovered within 60 days, the customer may be eligible for a refund of up to $1,000. The device is preinstalled in the laptops, but customers will need to add $99 to the price of the computer to activate the coverage for three years.

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