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.

Here is a Thought BEFORE You Buy GPS Fleet Tracking

One big mistake I have been observing in my 10 plus years of expereince with GPS Fleet Tracking is an issue that has nothing to do with GPS itself.

It has to do with a very typical and secretive attitude on management's part … usually starting long before they ever even buy GPS tracking for their fleet.

Start bringing your employees, especially drivers, on board _before_ you make any GPS tracking equipment solutions.

It does not have to be a contentious issue between the drivers and management … but it likely will be unless you involve the drivers from day one.

Also (strange as this may seem to some management “guru”s), the driverds actually know a lot about your buisness and what is needed to make it more efficient and profitable.  

They are not 'low level workers' to be ordered around, they are the face of your business, and they will make or break any system you buy.

Trust me, I know this works.

Introducing GPS fleet tracking to your staff ~ Telogis

http://www.telogis.com5/31/10

Drivers may have concerns about a GPS fleet management system invading their privacy. Of course, you can mention how a more profitable business is better for your staff as well, providing them with job security and growth opportunities.

GPS Yourself For Fun, Profit and the World

Here’s a great article from CleanTechnica (recommended) that points up an issue I have been talking about for years now:  GPS tracking and GPS mapping isn’t “just for the other guy”.  You can make your own ROI.

When we mention GPS tracking most people think of three major areas:

  1. Tracking commercial fleets for safety and savings
  2. Tracking public transpo like buses and taxis for public convenience and compliance
  3. Tracking prisoners/paroled offenders to save corrections costs and make the pubic safer.

But driving to work?  How lame is that, of course each one of us knows best about how to drive ourselves, right?

Well, perhaps not so.  Read this article and think to yourself, “How is it that even though I know I one of the world’s best drivers, I somehow know traffic conditions on streets I can’t even see”?

Talent is one thing, Reliable clairvoyance is something else yet again.

NAVTEQ Announces Use of GPS Can Reduce Emissions by 21%

Written by Beth Graddon-Hodgson
Published on September 8th, 2009

GPS Traffic Navigation

Many commuters have GPS installed in their cars, or have purchased portable devices to try to get them where they’re going. A recent study by NAVTEQ, a data provider for navigation systems has demonstrated that using a GPS device can not only save drivers time spent in traffic, it can also reduce emissions from vehicles by up to 21%. … there’s a lot more in the article on the value of personal GPS tracking and the study it references.  Recommended.

Two nights ago I watched a show on the National Geographic channel about commercial logging.  Yeah, I’ll be the first to admit I watched due to the “boys with big yellow toys” syndrome … it was really interesting to watch these guys showing off the high tech world that logging has become.

But a big part of the “profit puzzle” in that business is moving the raw cut logs to the proper mill at the proper time.  Mileage and routing is a huge factor in determining if each day’s work made a profit or a loss.  (no wonderment there from the fleet managers of the world or independent owner operators reading this, now is there?)

When issues came up about discrepancies between what a certain mill was paying for mileage allowance and the mileage delivery drivers were recording, the transportation manager/truck fleet owner called the drivers over for an impromptu meeting and outlined the routs available and the routing her wanted the drivers to use … with a stick, scratching in the mud. Millions in technology for cutting, trimming and loading the logs.  Hundreds of thousands of dollars for each truck trailer rig to haul the timer, thousands of dollars per load, making the difference between profit and loss on each individual day … and these guys managed their mileage with a stick in the mud?

Why, oh why, are so many otherwise smart business people such CPS Luddites?  If you want to work your way out of this recession (and you had better work your own way out, government handouts can’t do it all), then start putting cheap, effective and PROFITABLE GPS tracking to work for you and throw away the stick you have been scratching out your business with.

Making Money Online by America’s Unions

I make it a practice never to delve very much into politics here on retired Pay the blog primarily for Seniors and Retirees Making Money Online.  And I am not going to break that rule today.  But I am going to give a brief shoutout to something that always seems to be very political in nature, America’s labor unions.

Some of you out there are currently union members or retired on union-backed pensions so I don’t need to fear too many brickbats from your direction.

Others are like me, I was only a union member for a short time in one job that I held and have not had too much dealings with unions, pro or con during my career.

Others are rabid anti-union advocates, blaming all manner of ills from the Wall Street business failures to the exporting of jobs overseas to the Civil War on trade unions.

Well this isn’t an open call for a debate, I’m not going to change anyone’s views in one blog post, surely, and I wouldn’t want to anyway.

But I will say that I recognize how many of the benefits I enjoyed while I was working and those that I continue to enjoy now as the fruits of the labor movement.  Even those of you in non-union jobs should give a moment to contemplate where your work hours, your annual paid vacations, merit promotion systems, maternity leave, EEOC office and so many other benefits we take for granted as Americans came from.  They were all founded in the work, dedication and sacrifice of union members and they have now become so much the norm that few even realize that fact.

Continue reading “Making Money Online by America’s Unions”

Immediate Danger Averted, But Fuzzy Frequency Thinking Abounds

Avweb Comes through with the best update I have seen on the GPS/LightSquared mess … Thanks, Guys:

LightSquared Update

GPS Tracking ROI

Recent tests have shown that LightSquared’s proposed grid of 40,000 wireless network ground stations could interfere with GPS signals, and now the FCC has granted LightSquared a two-week extension to file a report on its position. LightSquared’s report was originally due Wednesday, the same day the FCC granted the extension.

LightSquared spokesman Jim Carlisle said Tuesday that the company underestimated the number of tests that would be necessary to show the network should be allowed. In a letter to the FCC, Carlisle wrote that additional testing "was necessary to permit a proper evaluation of various mitigation options for addressing the GPS receiver overload issue." And that producing a report is really hard.

"Producing a final report is a massive undertaking," Carlisle wrote, citing the multitude of factors involved in the process. The FCC responded by granting the company a new deadline of July 1.

In response to the FCC’s decision, co-founder of the Coalition to Save our GPS and Vice President of Trimble Jim Kirkland described his understanding of the process, so far, saying, it’s "been a combination of really really bad ideas and slightly less bad ideas."

According to Kirkland, too much of the burden of proof has been placed on the companies that could be most affected by LightSquared’s network. Said Kirkland, "The FCC should let the private industry return to work and stop squandering resources to solve an unsolvable problem."

This is typical of a money-hungry hedge-fund investor driven company like LightSquared as opposed to a technically-driven company who might have come up with a better, less rapacious of the public’s spectrum.

It doesn’t even take a high school level understanding of the frequency spectrum and the power budget LightSquared is proposing to use to understand that it is impossible for their ill-conceived, duplicative frequency grab to co-exists with our essential public utility, the GPS.

Most indicative of their lack of familiarity with the water they are swimming in is their last-minute failire to dleiver their required report.

Their spokesman now say, “… it’s a massive undertaking …”.  Well, as my Training Instructor down at Lackland AFB, 45 years ago, TSgt Clarence D. Marshall would have been happy to tell Mr. Carlisle, “Well, aw no shit, troop”!

Mr Carlisle may be a very well educated man, indeed (I believe he’s a lawyer by degree), but his concept of how business is done with  the FCC seems pretty flawed, especially since he used to work for the FCC, approving claims against the public’s spectrum like LightSquared’s.  (Hmm, you don’t think they hired him from the FCC to get benefit of his insider knowledge, now do you?  No, I’m sure that wasn’t the case ….)

Anyway,they have two weeks to prepare the report on how they are going to make the square peg fit into the round hole … I for one will be anxiously awaiting the excuses that will be offered up come  July 1.

GPS Tracking — Jobs, Yes There Are GPS Jobs!

GPS World Career Locator Announcement to All Job Seekers

RESUME

New and Improved Resume/Profile System!

Check it Out:

  • Modern Look,
  • Simplified Use
  • Upload Your Resume From a PDF or Word Document
  • No Resume to Upload? – Use the "Build Online" Tool
  • Better Search Capability – Employers Find Your Resume Easily
  • All Resumes are Still Anonymous!

NOTE: If you have created a resume on our site in the past, you will need to update your information in our new system

Already have a Career Profile/Resume on our job site?
YES:
Click here to review and update your resume

NO:
Click here to upload or build your new resume

NOT SURE:

Click here to view the resume section of your account

Best of Luck in Your Job Search!
GPS World Career Locator

As I’ve Said, You Have Much More To Worry About Than GPS Tracking Privacy

I can’t count how many times I have written about this issue in the past, here and on other online forums.

Because this site is mainly about GPS tracking I get a lot of visitors who are highly polarized … for or against the government being able to track citizen’s positions and past movements via cell-phone based GPS or discrete GPS systems that might be in use by the subject of an investigation.

But folks, if you are deeply concerned about privacy and personal freedoms, you better shift the focus of your campaign away from the GPS system and start looking at the original big picture.

We could shut off the GPS in the interest of privacy today and government agencies would still be able to snoop and record tremendous amounts of data on anyone who even turns on their cell phone.

You don’t have to actually use the cell phone, and your cell phone does not need to be equipped with GPS.  “Big Brother” still knows and now he has even more authority to snoop and keep snooping … GPS or no GPS.

Court OKs Warrantless Cell-Site Tracking

A federal appeals court said Tuesday the government may obtain cell-site information that mobile phone carriers retain on their customers without a probable-cause warrant under the Fourth Amendment.

The decision by the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals (.pdf) was not, however, an outright Obama administration victory. Lower courts, the three-judge panel wrote, could demand the government show probable cause — the warrant standard — before requiring carriers to release such data to the feds.

The opinion does leaves the privacy issue in a legal limbo of sorts. The standard by which the government can access such records — which can be used in criminal prosecutions — is left to the whims of district court judges. Historical cell-site location information, which carriers usually retain for about 18 months, identifies the cell tower to which the customer was connected at the beginning of a call and at the end of the call.

Lower courts across the country have issued conflicting rulings on the topic and will continue to do so without appellate guidance or congressional action. The Philadelphia-based court was the first appeals court to address the issue.

The Obama administration argued a judge could force a carrier to produce cell-site data on a showing that the information was “relevant and material” to an investigation.

Read More http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2010/09/cell-site-data/

GPS Tracking, Science and Insurance

I was really happy to read this release a few days ago highlighting yet another success of my old friends at Geotab.  I used to be a dealer of Geotab products and I am still convinced they offer some of the best business-oriented GPS solutions in the world.

ISO Equips Fleet with Devices to Develop Analytic Methods for Auto Insurance

ISO has announced that it will equip more than 600 ISO company vehicles with telematics devices to monitor and record data about driving behavior. Information will include Global Positioning System (GPS) and On-Board Diagnostic (OBD-II) data for vehicle information and 3-axis accelerometer data for driving maneuvers. Telematics data can provide predictive value to insurers through various methods. The project will help ISO, through its Applied Informatix until, to assess the methods needed to leverage this new source of data for analytics to predict loss and streamline rating, underwriting, and claims workflows.

ISO Headquarters building According to Steven C. Craig, general manager of Applied Informatix and A-PLUS, “ISO is undertaking this effort as part of its pioneering study to assess the predictability of telematics data for rating, underwriting, and claims purposes. Using the ISO fleet as a source of telematics data will provide our analytics staff an invaluable test bed for product development and telematics data troubleshooting.”

ISO created the Applied Informatix business unit to gather and analyze telematics data from devices installed in private passenger and commercial vehicles. The unit also plans to mitigate the obstacles currently experienced by insurers who wish to collect and use driving behavior data to create differentiated auto insurance products.

“By equipping the ISO fleet, we will gain firsthand knowledge of all aspects of such a program from installation, activation, data collection, and processing to linkage of claims and policy data,” said Craig.

ISO is working with Geotab, Inc., to equip the ISO fleet with Geotab’s small but powerful plug-and-play GO5 telematics device. GO5 offers state-of-the-art technology and Geotab’s patented tracking algorithm, which accurately recreates vehicle trips and incidents.

In addition to contributing to the ongoing Applied Informatix telematics study, ISO expects to reap other benefits, according to Craig. “We want to use the technology to help our risk management program increase fleet safety and efficiency, thereby reducing costs while supporting ISO’s green initiatives.”

To support the telematics initiative in the insurance industry, ISO has joined the Connected Vehicle Trade Association (CVTA) as a board member. CVTA is a nonprofit business league established to facilitate the interaction and advance the interests of the entities involved in the vehicle communication environment….

I’ve been in this GPS Tracking for Business market space for some years now, and I’ve always been conscious that one of the big players in the field has been lagging behind … the transportation insurance segment of the market.

This is a very important first step in getting the insurance industry “on the same page” as many business owners and fleet managers already read from.

You can’t manage what you can’t measure”, and likewise, you can’t give the best price(and reap the most profit) from insurance programs unless you really know who and what you are writing coverage for.

Hang up And Drive!

Here’s a recent entry in Rosalind Gardner’s Net Profits Today blog that at first glance doesn’t seem to be GPS-related but it’s just so important that I have to take the time to address the issue.  Now, listen up … Rosalind is a guru of what we web weenies call "Affiliate Marketing, but the link I furnished is no affiliate link and I’m not selling anything here … except the idea of trying to keep a few of you, or your teenagers alive.

New California Cell Phone Law Misses the Mark

How would you feel if the air traffic controller responsible for your flight was having a heated argument with his wife on the phone at the same time he was supposed to be safely separating your flight from others? You might start looking for that parachute, right?…

Like Ros, I’m very grateful that the "Gubernator" is paying some attention to the driving while phoning issue.  Also, like Ros, I’m very concerned that this isn’t enough.  There are many studies out there using driving simulators that prove that driving and cell phoning don’t mix.  using a hands-free phone is a step in the right direction, but it isn’t really the answer.  No matter how good a driver you are (or think you are) your driving performance deteriorates measurably when yakking while driving.

Don’t bother, in my opinion, to buy a Bluetooth headset or any of the other hands-free solutions, just turn the dang thing off while you are on the road and I am depending upon your superior driving skills to keep us apart when I make a driving error.  In Japan all cell phones are required to have a one-key ‘drive’ button that puts the phone into a voice mail mode with the outbound message, "I’m driving, please leave a message".  Driving is too complex and demanding a task, and the call you will have to delay receiving or making until you stop driving is just not that Earth shaking.

Ros uses the example of air traffic control as her illustration of the importance of paying attention to the task at hand.  Very understandable since she used to be an active air traffic controller.  Let me furnish a couple other examples as to why I feel this strongly on the subject.

Ever hear the term "sterile cockpit"?  No, it doesn’t mean disinfecting airliner cockpits with Pine Sol after each crew leaves.  It refers to a generally accepted regulation that requires airline crews to stop talking about their latest union meeting, how many days off they were getting next month or the new flight attendant’s legs when they are below 10,000 feet … in other words, getting close to the ground, or on the ground.  The reasoning behind this rule is unarguable.  A surprising number of fatal crashes have happened while the flight crew was yakking away on some non-flight related item.  It isn’t hard to conduct a conversation and it isn’t hard to actually control an aircraft in normal flight.  But the human mind will switch focus as it will … and if it switches focus to the wrong one of two relatively simple tasks at the wrong point in time … Wham!

I found this accident report interesting as well.  cell phones aren’t only deadly in high speed vehicles.  Many of today’s freight railroads today operate in a mode similar to air traffic control.  A freight train is "cleared" by the dispatcher for exclusive use of  a section of single track from point A to point B.  At point B the train has to stop unless it has been granted further clearance.  Many times the train is operating at a speed far less than you would be driving your car, and a train engineer has nothing to do except adjust speed … the rails steer the train … you could do it with your eyes closed almost.  Certainly a cell phone wouldn’t be dangerous in a railroad locomotive cab, would it?  Well read the whole report here or if you don’t think accident reports are a fascinating source of information as I do, here’s what matters:

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the May 28, 2002, collision at Clarendon, Texas, was (1) the coal train engineer’s use of a cell phone during the time he should have been attending to (business)

To wrap things up and prove I haven’t just ignored GPS … those handy dashboard GPS navigators are no less intrusive than cell phones.  I love GPS, I’ve been around the technology since it was new, I even make a living with it, but please, don’t play with your GPS and don’t yak on your cell when you are driving.  Driving is more demanding than you think, and the stakes are much higher than many seem to realize.  (besides you look like a total a-hole to other drivers when you are yakking)

Cheap GPS Tracking

I’m seeing a lot of searches on "cheap GPS Tracking" lately.  I suspect most of them are business-related.  There’s nothing wrong with looking for the best bargain, indeed that’s the responsibility of a business owner or government administrator.  But here are a few thoughts on what is smart in regards to "cheap" versus "best value".

First of all, I just posted a pretty comprehensive post on this under the heading of GPS for Teens.  everything in that article is basically applicable to business.

here are some specific pointers you want to consider … before you search by price:

  • If you have vehicles on the road, GPS tracking will not only pay for itself, it will return more than you spend.  Basically in three ways:
    • Fuel Savings, by controlling idling, excess speed and wasted miles
    • Labor Savings, by highlighting late starts, long lunches and early quitting times.
    • Customer Relationships, by insuring appointments are met and by finding time for more service or sales calls per day or week.
  • There are the basic types of GPS tracking, passive and live (sometimes erroneously called "real time".
    • Passive Pros:
      • High resolution
      • Simplest installations
      • No monthly fees and no monitoring labor
    • Passive Cons:
      • Can’t "reach out and find" a vehicle … no good for theft prevention.
      • Can’t be used for near real-time dispatch .., finding the closest vehicle immediately
      • Can’t be used to show your fleet and collaborate with customers.
    • Live Pros:
      • You see your fleet in near real time, active control
      • You get near-immediate knowledge of dangerous driving/traffic holdups.
      • You can show it to customers as a sales/service advantage.
    • Live Cons:
      • In general more costly to buy and to install.
      • There is always a communication cost, usually paid per month.  Some shady operators "hide" the communication cost but you will pay it, one way or another.
      • Requires participation on your part .. if no one is being paid to watch the screen, where is your business value.
  • OK, there’s a snapshot to help you decide what you might want.  Here’s what some typical systems will run you:
    • Passive: 
      • TravelEyes (and many re-brands of the same box) .. under $300.  Tracking performance is adequate to nil (no permanent antenna, the box won’t track on the floor under the seat.  Maps: so-so. No bushiness map applications aside from a picture of the roads.  Update path unknown. Reports, adequate.  Single vehicle only, no integration into fleet management statistics.  Convenience: poor, must carry box to computer to read out data.
      • Shadow Tracker: … under $600.  Tracking performance good.  Maps: so-so. No bushiness map applications aside from a picture of the roads.  Update path unknown. Reports: good, made to consolidate fleets.  Convenience:  Good.  As an option can automatically upload data when truck returns.
      • GeoTab GO … under $600.  tracking performance excellent … second by second. Maps: excellent, uses latest version of Microsoft MapPoint which is a business tool on it’s own.  regular updates.  Reports, good.  All are delivered in Microsoft Excel format and are fleet oriented.  Convenience, good, can automatically upload information at no charge.
    • Live
      • Nextel (or other cell phone offerings).  undeniably cheap … often a slow as $10 per month.  tracking performance:  Abysmal in some cases.  Track points far apart and not accurate as reported to me by many users.  Maps:  Rudimentary web-based maps.  Frequently updates by commercial provider.  Not really available to user.  Reports: Limited to non-existent.  Provides dots on a map only.  Convenience:  Great, just turn on the phone … remember, though, it tracks the phone not your truck.
      • GeoTab GO Live … under $500.  tracking performance, excellent as in the passive version.  Costs for live data in the $35 a month range for very frequent updates.  updates vary with what the vehicle is doing to give the highest resolution at the lowest cost.  Limited by the coverage area of the cellular network … great in major metro areas, nearly non-existent in wide open spaces.  Maps: excellent, uses latest version of Microsoft MapPoint which is a business tool on it’s own.  regular updates.  Reports, good.  All are delivered in Microsoft Excel format and are fleet oriented.  Convenience, good.  requires permanent installation, all data saved for later review when no one is watching the screen.
      • FMS MLT-300 … under $1200.  A good example of mid-range satellite communications-based systems.  Tracking performance, good.  Monthly costs about $30 to $40, depending on resolution selected.   Coverage is continental or better, works as good in Wyoming as in Westchester.  Track points are spaced by time intervals, in other words a "snap shot" of your fleet every 5, 10, 15 minutes.  maps"  Adequate.  Web-based so user doesn’t have to upgrade but detail dependent on commercial vendor.  Reports: Adequate.  Canned, on-line reports that cover the basics of most business needs.   Value decreases substantially when not being "watched" full-time.

There’s a little info to answer a few questions and whet your appetitive.  Any of these systems can pay for itself in less than a year.  If you’re not confident in what you need, contact a competent independent dealer who can find the solution best for you, rather than just the one he sells.