Happy 10th Birthday — GPS Insight

Just noticed that my colleague Rob Donat and his hugely successful GPS tracking provider firm http://www.gpsinsight.com/ just celebrated their 10th year in business.

And what a10 years it has been.  You really should visit Rob’s site and pay attention to the story how he grew the business from one firm he was doing private consulting for to a firm of 85 employees today with more than 80,000 GPS tracking  units in service.

If You Think You Can’t Build a Business in “Bad Years”

Here’s what Rob has to say about the last 10 years of his journey:

I “spun off” GPS Insight from my consulting company as its own legal entity 4/15/2005 after about 6 months of development for a single local fleet customer.  I never imagined where the company would be 10 years later.  With the economy as difficult as it was, our only option was to grow and innovate, and it has worked out well for our company as well as employees and customers. – See more at: http://blog.gpsinsight.com/2015/04/happy-10th-birthday-to-gps-insight/#sthash.74vpXCcx.dpuf

gpsi_logoIf You Think GPS Doesn’t Pay

Ask some of GPS Insight’s 2300+ plus customers.

West Coast Sand and Gravel Saves 5,205 Gallons of Fuel per Quarter by Reducing Idling

Large Beverage Fleet Receives 133% ROI with GPS Fleet Tracking Software

See more:

Case Studies and Customer Successes

 

Happy 10th birthday GPS Insight, can’t wait to see what the next 10 years bring.

Florida Joins the Need a GPS Warrant Club — With a Nautical Twist

Pretty interesting article From Wired here.  Not only is it talking about cell phone data — which I have been preaching for years is way more dangerous to you privacy than GPS data, but it brings up some really scary cell phone technology I wasn’t aware of … STINGRAY.  Ever heard of it?  You’ll want to, read on ..

Cops Need a Warrant to Grab Your Cell Tower Data, Florida Court Rules

The top of a cell phone tower.

The top of a cell phone tower. Getty Images

Americans may have a Florida drug dealer to thank for expanding our right to privacy.

Police departments around the country have been collecting phone metadata from telecoms and using a sophisticated spy tool to track people through their mobile phones—often without obtaining a warrant. But a new ruling out of Florida has curbed the activity in that state, on constitutional grounds. It raises hope among civil liberties advocates that other jurisdictions around the country may follow suit.

The Florida Supreme Court ruled Thursday that obtaining cell phone location data to track a person’s location or movement in real time constitutes a Fourth Amendment search and therefore requires a court-ordered warrant.

The case specifically involves cell tower data for a convicted drug dealer that police obtained from a telecom without a warrant. But the way the ruling is written (.pdf), it would also cover the use of so-called “stingrays”—sophisticated technology law enforcement agencies use to locate and track people in the field without assistance from telecoms. Agencies around the country, including in Florida, have been using the technology to track suspects—sometimes without obtaining a court order, other times deliberately deceiving judges and defendants about their use of the devices to track suspects, telling judges the information came from “confidential” sources rather than disclose their use of stingrays. The new ruling would require them to obtain a warrant or stop using the devices.

The American Civil Liberties Union calls the Florida ruling “a resounding defense” of the public’s right to privacy.

“Following people’s movements by secretly turning their cell phones into tracking devices can reveal extremely sensitive details of our lives, like where we go to the doctor or psychiatrist, where we spend the night, and who our friends are,” said Nate Freed Wessler, an attorney with the ACLU’s Speech, Privacy and Technology Project. “Police are now on notice that they need to get a warrant from a judge before tracking cell phones, whether using information from the service provider or their own ‘Stingray’ cell phone tracking equipment.”

The ruling constitutes the first time that a state court has reached this finding under the Fourth Amendment. It comes at a timely moment when federal courts of appeal in other jurisdictions are in the midst of taking up the question of cell tower data, Wessler told WIRED. Even if other jurisdictions rule differently, the Florida case makes it more likely that the issue will one day get to the U.S. Supreme Court. If it does, civil liberties advocates hope that the federal court would rule as it did on the use of GPS tracking devices used by police, determining that it constitutes a search under the Fourth Amendment. Though the court in that case fell short of ruling that the use of GPS devices requires a warrant, law enforcement agencies around the country have changed their practices as a result of the ruling.

THE AMERICAN CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION CALLS THE FLORIDA RULING “A RESOUNDING DEFENSE” OF THE PUBLIC’S RIGHT TO PRIVACY.

Stingrays are equally as invasive as GPS trackers, if not more so since GPS trackers are generally used on vehicles traveling public roads. Stingrays, however, can track the mobile phone wherever it goes—inside an apartment building and even down to the exact apartment where a person resides….

Scary, eh?  Well there’s a lot, lot more to the Stingray problem than the ACLU is talking about.

I’m going to do an extensive study on Stingrays starting next week on my sister sister, snoop411.com   Come over when you have a chance, it ought to be interesting.

Just because people say you’re crazy doesn’t mean they aren’t after you …

Do These Look Geostationary to You?

I’ve just been reading quite a bit about the sad story of Malaysian Airways flight 370, the horrid way Malaysia and some other nations involved just don’t even attempt to do air traffic control. and a lot of claptrap about the GPS system and how it should have tracked MH370 right to it’s final resting place.

One thing I found in quite a few places were reference aftre reference to the GPS satellites being iin geostationary orbit.  Well, hate to tell you this, but they are NOT.  Note the neat animated graphic above from Trimble.

My Drivers Are Honest — I Don’t Need GPS Tracking

Are you sure about that?  I’ve been selling, servicing modifying, implementing and consulting on GPS tracking and it’s role in protecting business owners from loss and unnecessary risk for nearly 20 years now.  I go back in the GPS to the days there was only one satellite (yes and it was useful, as well)

It is common, so common for business owners to deny they have any problems.  It’s human nature, but it’s still really comical … because if all these guys had such a good handle on their business, they’d be rich.

Covert tracker shows its worth in seafood theft

Staff reporter

02-Oct-2013

Truck tracked by GPSThe value of covert tracking technology to combat cargo theft has been proved once again in a case involving a stolen frozen seafood shipment in the US.

On September 29, an embedded GPS system identified when the shipment – en route from Massachusetts to California – was handed over to thieves by a complicit driver, according to a report from transport security specialist Freightwatch.

The GPS system identified when the shipment was diverted from its route towards Florida by the thieves, who were friends of the driver, and allowed the cargo to be recovered intact by police within hours of the theft. The driver reported the theft when he reached a depot in Jackson, Mississippi.

Real-World GPS Business Example

I’ve been selling the idea and benefits of GPS fleet tracking for years.

I think much of the time I made the mistake, and the industry in general has made the mistake, of making it all too complicated and technical.

It’s easy and it’s smart, folks.  It’s what every small business with a fleet on the road needs.

See how simple it was for Joe and Hangers Cleaners to find thousands in savings every year:


Did you notice especially how Joe found the excessive idling problem?

This is going on right now, today, in the fleet right outside your window. I guarantee it. I haven’t seen a fleet in nearly 20 years where this has NOT been a problem.

The practical solution? Monitor and Manage.

You Need a Nation-Wide Plan

Mnay of you reading this already know the importance of managing your fleets.

Those who have not yet made the move are often hanging back becuase the actual data netwwork .. the managemnt to truck data link is often the “Long Pole in the Tent” .. the most critical piece of the puzzle.

Getting Spring onboard ike this should go a long way toward making real-world, real-time fleet monoitoring and management availble to all.

Trust me folks, I’ve got years and years of experience in this business and I can truly tell you, managing your fleet with GPS does not COST, it PAYS.

I’ll Be Back — Yet Again

When you heard that LightSquared filed for bakruptcy last year .. and you quit seeing warnings from me about their attempted plan to disrupt the entire GPS industry with a shaky (at best) plan to run 40,000 high power cell towers right on a wafer thin border of the GPS spectrum, did you think they were dead and gone?

Hah.  So much for your foresight … didn’t you ever watch any of the Terminator movies?  

Do these things EVER stop, even when smelted down into their molten origins?

Folks, meet the “TRerminator” of the GPS Spectrum Band … LightSquared:

Lobbying and new spectrum: One last shot for LightSquared

The embattled company’s plan B to revive dreams of shaking up wireless industry.

LightSquared, the beleaguered satellite company that plans to revolutionize the wireless industry as a new competitor, could spring back from the dead with an alternative plan it has been quietly shepherding through the regulatory process over the past year. Most industry observers considered LightSquared’s fate sealed when it filed for bankruptcy back in 2012 after failing to receive government approval to launch its cellular network in the face of interference concerns with GPS. But the company has been diligently pursuing an alternative path to bring its business plan to market.  ..

More will follow, you can be sure of that.

Who Works For Whom? If You Are a Leader, ACT!

Here’s a classic case of knowing about a problem and then sweeping it under the rug becuase someone is afraid of finding out just how bad their management practices really are.

Lisbon board drops plans to monitor employees with GPS tracking devices

September 3, 2013SBON – The village Board of Public Affairs has changed its mind about using a GPS tracking device to monitor the whereabouts of BPA vehicles.

BPA member Bill Hoover said they decided at last week’s meeting to reverse course based on the advice of village Solicitor Virginia Barborak and the fact there may no longer be any need to use the devices.

“There wasn’t a lot of enthusiasm for it, plus our gas consumption has dropped,” he said.

The decision comes one month after the BPA reported it was exploring purchasing a GPS device to rotate among water and sewer department vehicles to improve efficiency by keeping track of employee driving patterns.

They said the devices would also allow them to determine the location of vehicles at any time by simply logging into the computer program. The device would also tell officials the speed being driven and other information, such as if the employee was using a cell phone while driving.

The GPS suggestion was made after the BPA began requiring employees to maintain a mileage-and-gasoline log when driving village vehicles after experiencing an unexplained 29 percent jump in fuel purchases last year.

The monitoring requirement has resulted in a 50 percent reduction in gas bills, and Hoover said that is one of the reasons why they decided against purchasing a GPS device. “The problem has pretty much solved itself,” he said.

Barborak had voiced reservations about potential legal and insurance issues involving the use of GPS, although the city of Youngstown and Trumbull County are among many government agencies that outfit vehicles with tracking devices.

Hoover said the tracking device is always an option. “It’s still available and we can buy it later if we want,” he said.

The devices cost $350 per unit, plus a $15 monthly fee for the online monitoring service.

– See more at: http://www.morningjournalnews.com/page/content.detail/id/548150/Lisbon-board-drops-plans-to-monitor-employees-with-GPS-tracking-devices.html?nav=5006#sthash.fjkIBdSG.dpuf

Are you a municipal leader?  You should take heed.  You aren’t a leader just to show off and be a big deal and to be known as “The Honorable”.

If you live in a village, town or city you too are part of this, even if you never run for election.

These people work for YOU, not you for them.

Make them do their job instead of living off the fat of YOUR land!

Will The Government EVER Stop Spying On Us?


A lot of readers drop by here looking for information on the legal issues regarding GPS tracking.  This is a “must read” article from the New York Times regarding the governments many secrets regrading GPS tracking … and the ven mor eincidious idea of continual cell phone tracking (no GPS is required to effectively track your every move if you have a cell phone turne don … did you even realize that?

GPS Tracking and Secret Policies

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This week brought fresh revelations about the National Security Agency’s sloppy and invasive collection of phone data on Americans and others, as reported first by The Washington Post. In another realm of surveillance — the government’s broad use of location tracking devices — the Justice Department was in federal court on Thursday defending its refusal to release memos containing information about its policies governing the use of GPS and other potentially invasive technologies.

The American Civil Liberties Union had brought the lawsuit to demand that the department make the memos public. The documents were prepared after a 2012 Supreme Court ruling, United States v. Jones, which held that placement of a hidden tracking device on a suspect’s car constitutes a “search” under the Fourth Amendment.

That case left lots of questions unanswered, including whether GPS tracking always requires a warrant based on probable cause, and how the Fourth Amendment applies to tracking someone 24/7 with cellphone location technology. After the decision was released, the F.B.I.’s general counsel, Andrew Weissmann, mentioned in a public talk that the government was issuing memos containing official guidance for federal agents and prosecutors on when they can use tracking technology and how the Jones decision applies to other types of techniques, beyond GPS. ..

It’s sort of up to you folks.  Especially the GPS “haters” out there among you. You can rant and rave and rail against GPS to your heart’s content, but even if the entire GPS system was turned off tomorrow, “Big Brother”, under the guise of “National Security” would still be watching your every move.  Sad …

Is It OK To Jam GPS For Privacy?

Came across a very interesting article this morning.  It’s citing some recent UK information on apparent commercial GPS jamming activity, but, of course, it has at least as much applicability to my (primarily) US-based readers, because GPS is one of the only truly global and non-political services in the world.

GPS works as well for the North Koreans as it does for New Yorkers, and unilateral disruptions to the signal and overall service can have serious consequences no matt3er where you are.

An interesting read:

Moonlighting Truck Drivers Source of GPS Jamming in the UK

turtNew research suggests GPS jamming in the UK is caused by truck drivers who are moonlighting, or working graveyard shifts.

The jamming of GPS signals and devices is putting shipping and aviation industries at risk because they are unable to access the GPS tracking and GPS navigation technology. Truck and van drivers who moonlight in the UK are now suspected of being to blame for the constant jamming due to their use of cheap scanners. The survey pointing to these results was conducted by the Technology Strategy Board’s Sentinel Project.

There is a growing concern about incidents of global navigation satellite system (GNSS) jamming throughout the UK, with as many as 100 dangerous incidents that occur each day at one of the busiest UK airports alone. This doesn’t even make a dent in all the GPS and GNSS incidents occurring.

Engineers who aided in the research noticed the incidents occurred more often during the week and in the middle of the night, rather than the weekend. This eliminated other factors that could have caused all the interferences, such as solar weather events.

Because they were occurring in the middle of the week, researchers began looking into commercial vehicles that are being used around the same time the satellite interferences were taking place. This isn’t just work-related truck drivers, but moonlighters who are doing activities in the middle of the night who are purposely interfering with tracking satellite systems.

“The pattern of behaviour suggests it is likely to be civilian-sourced jamming and most likely the evasion of tracking within commercial vehicles for moonlighting activities or for other non-work purposes,” Charles Curry, the project head and founder of Chronos Technology said. …

– See more at: http://www.liveviewgps.com/blog/moonlighting-truck-drivers-source-gps-jamming-uk/#sthash.eZI9wGuC.dpuf

Clandestine and unauthorized civilian jamming use seems to be at least as popular in the USA.  Just like the old “Spy vs. Spy” comic in Mad magazine, the agencies who try to curb this activity and the misguided and criminal folks who undertake it are going to be locked in combat for the foreseeable future.

Every technique that tries to mitigate jamming is going to be countered by modifications and new techniques to advance the spread of jamming.  It’s unlikely the struggle will ever end.

What can we do as public citizens to counter this?

1. Educate your drivers and other users.  The GPS tracking industry is AT LEAST as much about driver safety, corporate efficiency (and thus continued employment) and environmental issues (saving unnecessary trips and excess idling) as it is about punishment, discipline and intrusions to privacy.

2.  Ask you local law enforcement and the federal agencies who spend their time protecting the interests of Hollywood movie moguls and arresting web site providers for granting access to poker games and the other “terrorist-related” bullshit non-crimes that our national law enforcement community has degraded into, if they would please take a few minutes out of their busy day of doughnut runs and searching for teacher-student sex, if they would please address this issue.

Are people right in your own community making money of illegal sales to jam the GPS system?

I did one quick Google search and found, on the first page of search results, at least 6 commercial companies, within the USA, all selling illegal, or, at best, quasi-legal GPS jamming tools and devices.

It would not be hard to force this companies to stop this dangerous practice … if anyone in government and law enforcement gave a damn.

3. If you know of any activity along these lines, call the GPS jamming tip line and sound the alarm.