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:
New 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. …
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.