Illegal GPS Jammers Are Widespread

Research by the Government-backed Sentinel consortium shows dangerous GPS jammer use in the UK is on the rise.

Illegal systems which jam GPS are widely used in the UK, and could cause accidents, according to a new study conducted in secret.

The Sentinel study, a£1.5m government project run by a consortium that includes the police and the National Physical Laboratory, found 60 violations in six months by monitoring just 20 roadside locations, according to a paper presented at the GNSS Vulnerability 2012: Present Danger, Future Threats conference held at the National Physical Laboratory.

Until recently, GPS jammers were built mainly for military purposes, for instance, to confuse the enemy or disrupt missile targeting systems. Last year, the Ministry of Defence even had to stop a major naval exercise, as the use of military jamming could endanger local fishermen and disrupt mobile communications. However, there are a few civilian uses for jamming GPS signals including the ability to conceal a person or a vehicle if it is transmitting its location based on information from GPS.

The Sentinel research project used a network of 20 roadside monitors to detect jammer use. In one location, the study recorded more than 60 GPS jamming incidents in six months, reports the BBC.

Sentinel is a 24 month project which aims to establish the extent to which Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) signals, including GPS, can be trusted by users on an everyday basis.

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