Gps Devices And Your Privacy
You don't have to be a fan of the X-Files to believe that the government is listening to us and watching our every move. Discoveries about the level of wire-tapping in the United States in recent years have reached a high enough frequency to where every American has to stop and wonder about the nature of their privacy.
Now, many people have begun to focus their privacy concerns towards the growing consumer GPS industry. With GPS devices for your car and cell phones, the ability for satellites to locate your whereabouts has grown exponentially. In fact, it is this capability that makes the GPS such a useful device in the first place.
GPS devices transmit a signal out to the satellites that make up the global position system. While it is highly unlike that you will be tracked without your knowledge, it could happen, provided the tracker was equipped with some very high level technology.
But face it, GPS devices are great, and many people would never give their's up - having grown accustomed to the convenience of never getting lost, always knowing the best routes to take and having a friendly voice in the car with them at all times.
In the midst of this double-edge sword are two sides of the privacy debate. On the one hand, you have those individuals who have no problem sacrificing a portion of their privacy in the name of convenience, while on the other hand you have those who are genuinely concerned about the state of their privacy.
Consider the following laws and rulings:
· A recent ruling in New York City made it OK for police to plant a GPS device in the car of a suspect to help making trailing them easier. While most people will say that you haven't done anything wrong, you don't have anything to worry about, it still creates a slippery slope.
· Some states now allow law enforcement and other government officials to activate the GPS devices inside cars or cell phones with a warrant.
Both of these cases have been challenged, but are expected to be upheld by the Supreme Court.
Taking concerns about their privacy to the next level, some people have even gone so far as to purchase "GPS Jammers" for their systems. These devices plug into the side of the GPS device and block communications between the satellites and your car. The result? You won't be able to use your GPS while the jammer is in place, but there will be no way to monitor your signal either.
As the "War against Terrorism" rages on, and the popularity of GPS devices continues to grow, expect the privacy debate to drag on as well. In the meantime, it is safe to say that the individual, law-abiding user of consumer GPS technology has little if anything to worry about in term of government satellites or stealth helicopters tracking their every move. Simply enjoy the flawless directions to the restaurant and everything will work out fine.
By: Mark Etinger