GPS jammer technology has become a big problem in recent years, in particular for fleet management systems. In a 2011 UK study, it was found that up to 10 blocking episodes occurred every day in certain areas, which suggests there may be as many as thousands of GPS blocking devices in use. This number is thought to be consistently growing.
So what are the legal consequences for using such a technology and why is it being used in the first place?
What Are GPS Jammers?
GPS jammers are devices that can block the GPS satellite signals, which can disable businesses to track, locate or manage their entire flight in real time if a GPS blocking device is attached to every single vehicle.
These devices allow stolen vehicles to remain undetected or due to recent popularity this technology is utilised by commercial drivers, to stop fleet managers from tracking their locations and habits.
How Do Vehicle Tracking Blockers Work?
GPS employs the use of at least 4 satellites to obtain an accurate location of a vehicle. The signals sent by these satellites aren’t very strong and usually no more powerful than 60-70 watts, relying completely on solar energy for power. So a vehicle tracking blocker signal, does not require a great deal of power to override the signal.
GPS jammers broadcast a noise that effectively cancels out the satellites signal despite being such a low powered device. This combination of high efficiency and low power makes them a relatively cheap piece of equipment that can be bought for as little as £15. Each device can simply be plugged into the vehicle’s cigarette lighter, which makes it very easy to operate.
How Effective Are GPS Blocking Devices?
An average GPS jammer will create an impenetrable bubble around the vehicle for about 500 meters. In addition to that, these devices are also able to block any locating ability from phones or other mobile tracking devices.
However, GPS jammers aren’t that foolproof. For instance, modern vehicle trackers may also use cell phone triangulation, as it is a more reliable and faster way of fleet tracking. Fortunately gps jammers are not able to affect vehicles that use this method of tracking.
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Are GPS Blockers Legal In The UK
Due to a loophole in the UK vehicle tracking law, GPS jammer’s are legal to buy but illegal to use or sell, with a possible fine of up to £5,000 when prosecuted. There are many serious consequences associated to the use of any type of vehicle tracking blocker, such as the practice of drivers working dangerously long hours. There have also been incidences where truckers using the device have blocked aeroplane signals and lighthouse warnings.
Where Are Vehicle Tracking Blockers Commonly Used?
The two main places you might find a GPS blocker is in commercial or stolen vehicles. A commercial driver might use such a device to work extra hours, beyond what is legally allowed. As GPS trackers are also able to stop fleet managers from viewing driving habits, including dangerous practices, this might also motivate some to use the technology.
Vehicle theft has been on the decline for many years now and this is in no small part due to vehicle tracking devices. By using a vehicle tracker blocker, a thief may be able to avoid detection and succeed in stealing otherwise unprotected vehicles.
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