Sunday, January 29, 2012
GPS tracking is easy and increasingly common, but enter the jammer…
by Larry Geller
Forget the Supreme Court decision that placing a GPS tracking device on a car is a violation of Fourth Amendment protections. That may or may not stop police from planting these devices, but it should have little influence on their use by private individuals.
… Online, and soon in big-box stores, you can buy a device no bigger than a cigarette pack, attach it to a car without the driver’s knowledge and watch the vehicle’s travels — and stops — at home on your laptop.
Tens of thousands of Americans are already doing just that, with little oversight, for purposes as seemingly benign as tracking an elderly parent with dementia or a risky teenage driver, or as legally and ethically charged as spying on a spouse or an employee — or for outright criminal stalking.
Sales of GPS trackers to private individuals may have already surpassed more than 100,000 per year, some experts believe. The marketing is just getting started.
[NY Times, Private Snoops Find GPS Trail Legal to Follow, 1/28/2012]
What the story didn’t mention is that it is also possible to buy, on-line, jamming devices which may render the GPS tracker useless. The jammers, which are not legal, can also be ordered with the capability to jam GSM cell phone signals. Googling “GPS jammers” reveals the sources. Some units are pricy, some are not.
The illegality of jamming won’t stop some spouses who don’t want to be tracked from trying them. Same for truck drivers who don’t want their moves tracked by an employer.
Presumably one could check with a smartphone to be sure that the jamming is working (the smartphone won’t know where it is if the jammer works), and the smartphone could be used to verify that the jamming extends outside the car sufficiently. This is not rocket science.
It does seem we have entered a Spy vs. Spy era.
Hmmm.....Something seems wrong here. Looks like the law is backwards. The jammer should be legal and the tracker should be Illegal.
Totally agree with Old Diver! The laws developed today and defended by the Supreme Court these days have absolutely wrong pint of view, abetting those GPS trackers which can ruin thousands of private lives, breaking the 4th Amendment and the basic personal rights of the people who are being tracked.
Yet the same laws prohibit us to use GPS jammers while they are probably the only effective way to counter those tracking devices which are hard to find when installed somewhere under your car but may be effectively blocked by the jammers.
So again, the statement that "jammer should be legal and the tracker should be Illegal" goes +1