The Nevada Supreme Court issued a ruling yesterday which allows law enforcement to retrieve GPS tracking coordinates from suspects’ cell phones provided that an arrest warrant is obtained first. The ruling was unanimous and stated that since an arrest warrant provides law enforcement with authorized access to a suspect’s home, it thereby provides law enforcement access to cell phones within the home. The ruling stems from a stalking case in which a Nevada man claimed that GPS location data from his phone could not be recovered and used in a case without a search warrant.
In the wake of the mysterious and tragic disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH-370, some may be wondering just how much GPS tracking software plays a role in tracking jets like the Boeing 777 and other aircraft. We ran across a great article by BBC Asia that explains how airplanes are tracked. In short, airplanes do use GPS tracking, but the feature is almost exclusively used only for the purpose of informing the pilot of his or her position, rather than air traffic control. Surprisingly, much of air traffic control remains radar-based, with planes using a primary radar, a secondary radar, and ACARS–a system that transmits computer data from the plane to computers on the ground for the purpose of reporting on the health of the aircraft’s various systems.
Here’s the BBC Asia Article:
Suspected Thief Forgets He’s Wearing a GPS Tracking Ankle Bracelet
A suspected thief in Washington state either seriously underestimated the precise information provided by his GPS ankle bracelet via GPS tracking software or, more likely, forgot to remove it before allegedly embarking on a spree of theft from an Eagles fraternity lodge. GPS tracking data confirms that the man made multiple trips between the lodge and a nearby motel. Approximately $2,000 was stolen, and the man is now suspected in past thefts based on evidence found at the scene. The police, confirming that truth is sometimes stranger than fiction, stated that “You can’t make this stuff up.” Video surveillance from the night of the alleged crimes has been turned over to authorities, and a second suspect has been identified based on evidence.
According to the LA Times, a California appellate court ruled on Thursday that holding a cell phone while driving for the purpose of viewing GPS tracking applications is legal. The appeals case is the result of a Fresno man contesting a ticket he received for using the GPS tracking software application on his cell phone (in hand) to figure out how to avert being caught in a traffic jam. After receiving the ticket, the man argued that the 2006 law banned only talking on cell phones while driving–unless a hands-free device is used. After losing in lower courts, the appellate court reversed the earlier decisions, citing that the 2006 law came into effect during a time when cell phones were largely used for talking only–not the myriad of available cell phone apps, including GPS tracking apps, used today. In addition, the appellate opinion stated that banning handling of a cell phone to use a GPS tracking app while driving could also lead to “ridiculous” outcomes, including making it illegal to check a phone for the current time, or simply moving the phone around in the car, for example, from a dashboard to a seat while driving.
The US federal government has recently released funding to aid in purchasing GPS trackers for autistic children at high risk for wandering away and becoming lost. The average cost of GPS tracker for a child ranges from $80-$100 before the addition of data costs/subscriptions for monthly GPS tracking software service.
The release of federal GPS tracking funding comes on the heels of incidents where children have become lost by leaving their homes or their schools. While some children are eventually found unharmed, other incidents have resulted in the deaths of children. Autistic children can be easily sidetracked with curiosity or panic quickly in a new situation. GPS tracking systems do not replace parental supervision but are a valuable extra layer of security when needed.
For more information about GPS trackers or GPS tracking software, please visit http://www.trackingtheworld.com.
LandLine Magazine recently reported that a covert GPS tracking device allowed police in Florida to track and recover a tractor trailer containing clothing items. The trailer was stolen as it sat unattended in a truck stop parking lot. The retail shipment, abandoned by the thieves suspected to be monitoring police traffic, was tracked to a location only 30 miles from where it was stolen. According to the article, Florida has the highest percentage of cargo theft, clothing theft adds up to more than $300,000 per year, and approximately 85% of thefts occur due to rigs left running and unattended by their drivers.
South Bend, Indiana schools have taken a major step forward in making their school bus system more user-friendly. With the addition of GPS tracking devices and a mobile phone app called “My Stop”, parents can now track their child’s bus from the time it leaves the lot in the morning, when it is nearing their child’s stop, and even when it has safely delivered their children to school.
School officials report that the new GPS tracking program has reduced the number of phone calls regarding bus arrival times. Parents appreciate the program as it allows them to send their child to the bus stop just before the bus arrives, reducing the amount of time the child has to spend in the cold and reducing the amount of time the child is vulnerable to other risks.
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Similar to just about every other electronic device, GPS tracking devices are becoming smaller and smaller with each advancement in technology. With the decreased sizes of GPS trackers, consumers are able to track smaller devices such as electronics like cameras and laptops.
Recently, an Arizona man realized the value of tracking smaller items of value after his home was burglarized. During the burglary, approximately $10-thousand dollars in jewelry along with a camera and other electronics were stolen. Due to the micro GPS tracking devices installed on the stolen camera, and satellite imagery provided by GPS tracking software, the victim was able to view the location of the suspect’s car and even identify in which area of the suspect’s home his belongings were being stored.
Although authorities were able to recover most of the victim’s belonging based on the GPS tracking information, some of his wife’s jewelry was not recovered. Authorities suspect it could have been pawned shortly after the crime. A suspect is in custody.
TrackingTheWorld recently announced the availability of all-inclusive GPS tracking packages for the New Year featuring the firm’s best-selling EnduroPro GPS tracking device.
Available through January 31, 2014, the packages include the EnduroPro, an extended life battery pack, choice of mini-magnetic case or ankle bracelet accessory, and three, six, or twelve months of GPS tracking service depending on the selected package (ranging in cost from $345-$545) .
“This offer is a convenient and very affordable way to get started in GPS tracking systems, or add to your current tracking devices,” said Gilbert Walz, CEO of TrackingTheWorld. For the New Year’s offer, TrackingTheWorld is also waiving its standard $69 activation fee.
The EnduroPro GPS tracking device included in the package offers is designed to provide reliable real time tracking data in extreme weather conditions, and is water resistant to IPX-5 standards. The professional-grade tracker is used for a broad range of applications, including asset tracking, covert tracking, personal protection, and law enforcement.
Time to first fix for the Enduro Pro is 29-seconds from a cold start, and less than one second from a hot start. The tracker includes a built-in motion sensor to extend battery life, which powers down the tracker when it is not in motion, resulting in one of the longest battery lives available for trackers of similar size.
The EnduroPro device is equipped to operate for up to 16-days on a single charge based on five minute reporting intervals and one hour of reporting per day, and can operate for up to 60-days using the dual-layered Lithium ion battery pack included in the limited time package offers. The magnetic battery pack is housed in a waterproof, crushproof Pelican™ case.
Each package offer also includes choice of either the Mini Mag Pro compact magnetic mounting case or the Enduro Ankle Case which allows the user to simply insert the EnduroPro into an adjustable bracelet designed to be worn around the ankle.
For more information about the above package offers, or to order, please call 650-692-8100. Phone orders only please.
In the aftermath of the tragic deaths of 19 Arizona firefighters, the Florida Forest Service is outfitting its firefighters on the frontlines with GPS tracking systems. Using GPS tracking software, supervisors will know the location of each firefighter at any time, and be able to reach them more quickly in the event of an emergency.
The new GPS tracking program is being implemented in hopes of increasing the safety of those closest to potentially deadly blazes, including those using bulldozers to push back fire lines. According to the forest service, the program is possibly the first of its kind for firefighters. The GPS tracking program does not require cell phone or Internet service, but rather relies on “packets” of electronic information sent to supervisors’ laptops provided they are within a two mile range of the GPS tracking device.