A network of detectors is needed to prevent criminals and terrorists from jamming GPS signals to disguise their activities.
A new report from the Royal Academy of Engineering has concluded that the UK is highly dependent on GPS systems for much of its economic activity. CRFS supports this timely and relevant independent report which highlights how exposed the UK is to interference in the radio spectrum used for GPS.
We all use applications which depend on GPS but many of us do not realise how vulnerable they are to failure, disruption and interference. As the report highlights, the possible consequences of these range from the inconvenient (such not being able to use your satnav) to possible loss of life (such as interruptions to emergency services communications).
Criminals are using jamming equipment to disable GPS signals when they try to steal high-value items such as cars and lorries which have GPS protection, and suppliers of tracking equipment are bringing out new devices to combat this. But jamming equipment is available in the Internet for as little as £20 and it is not an offence to have this equipment in your possession. Type gps jammers into Google and you get over 450,000 hits, many offering such kit for sale.
CRFS monitors the use of radio spectrum using its own specially developed equipment and it regularly detects GPS jamming equipment being used.
“We are detecting increasing use of jamming equipment as we monitor spectrum usage around the country. Increasing interference with the GPS signal presents a real economic and security threat. We need to monitor the use of this equipment so that we can detect and stop its use quickly,” said David Cleevely, Chairman of CRFS.
“We regularly detect instances of GPS jammers in use as we monitor radio activity around the UK. The plot from one of our detectors shows one which we saw in use on the A4 near Kew Bridge,” said Alistair Massarella, CEO of CRFS.
“A network of monitors in our major urban centres will allow us to monitor use of these jamming devices and get them turned off as soon as they are detected. This network will also act as a detector of criminal activity – there is no legitimate use for this jamming equipment,” added David Cleevely.