• The Associated Press


A new mobile phone in Japan locks automatically when its owner moves too far away and can be found via satellite navigation if it is missing.

The P903i from NTT DoCoMo, Japan’s top mobile carrier, comes with a small black card about the size of a movie-ticket stub that works as a security key by connecting wirelessly with the cell phone.

If owners keep the card in their bag or pocket, the phone recognizes when the card moves too far away and locks automatically to prevent use. The phone can be set to lock down when it is about 8 meters, 20 meters or 40 meters from its owner.

People who lose their security cards can punch in a password to undo the phone lock. But they will have to buy a new card to set the lock again.

The extra security is handy because, like other recent Japanese phone models, the P903i can be used as a credit card or a prepaid cash card at stores that have special reader machines, said NTT DoCoMo Nobuyuki Hatanaka.

The new security feature, however, does not prevent snoops from getting information from the phone — reading personal e-mails, say — if they are within a safe distance of the security key. To guard against such intruders, the phone has a facial identification lock that recognizes its owner by analyzing features, such as distance between the eyes, in a digital photo image.

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