Using a GPS jammer is illegal in the UK, but a recent study has revealed that many people who are having their whereabouts tracked are using the devices. A study which was conducted by Sentinel found that in the last six months over 60 incidents of GPS jamming occurred. The results of the study were presented to the Present Danger conference which was held at the National Physics Laboratory recently.
The project gathered its results by using 20 jamming monitors that were located at different locations across the country. It is expected that there system for research is going to be developed into a product that can be used as a deterrent for people using the jamming devices.
Charles Curry from Chronos Technology has stated, “We believe there are about 50 to 450 uses of GPS jammers every day in the UK. That said, these are early results and we are still analysing the data.” Most of the devices which are used for GPS jamming our very small but still have an effective radius of about 300 metres.
The study was funded by the Technology Strategy Board and is backed by numerous partners. The research also led to the confiscation of one jammer by the police. About the confiscation Mr Curry commented, “We were examining the data and we saw that there was a repeating pattern, we informed the police and they were able to wait at the location until the jammer past, then they were able to move in and confiscate it.
It is easily possible to buy one of these devices on the internet and many in law enforcement believe that the law around the devices needs to be stricter. It is important that it is possible for those using one of these devices to be detected and the driver can be identified. This is the next stage in the project and a system is currently being developed.
Logistics companies often use GPS trackers so they know where the vehicles are. They are particularly useful for vehicles that are carrying particularly valuable cargo. From the Royal Institute of Navigation is Professor David Last and he has commented, “The actual power being emitted from a GPS satellite is tiny and therefore even a very low power jammer is capable of drowning out a GPS signal that it is tuned to the same radio frequency. GPS is an incredibly valuable service and the use of jammers is problematic.”