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GPS Security And Privacy: Should Safety Trump Privacy?

by Brad Seabourne

As many of you already know, the Global Positioning Satellite System (GPS) has a number of major benefits. It can be of huge assistance to those navigating in unfamiliar territory. But some people consider it to be an invasion of privacy. GPS security and privacy, has been widely discussed and many adults believe that the pros out weigh the cons.

GPS vehicle tracking devices perform a wide variety of different monitoring functions that can determine where the vehicle is located, the speed, and how many miles that car has been driven. This information is all variable since the system and device determine the different functions.

This is also widely regarded as an invasion of our personal privacy. To give one example, a standard rental car contract will often stipulate that if you go over 79 miles per hour, you will have to pay extra for the wear and tear that the car suffers. The car rental company can find out if you are going too fast by receiving information from the GPS tracking devices that are attached to the vehicle. Thus, if you go over 79 miles per hour, they will know, and you will be billed.

Remember that any statements about "guarantees to privacy", do not apply to parents monitoring their underage teenagers. This device lets one know exactly where there children are, if not what they are doing. Since the records are stored in tamper proof memory, there is no way to avoid punishment when rules are broken.

GPS cell phones no longer require people to purchase expensive hardware to track a loved one. Cell phone companies now offer this option. However most cell phones do not offer the user direct access to the GPS data. Accurate location determination requires the assistance of the wireless network, and the GPS data is transmitted only if a 911 emergency call is made.

Another area in which GPS security and privacy issues have become important is with cellular phones. Many people do not know that their cell phones can be used to keep tabs on them. They make it easier for police officers to go about their business, because cops can track both victims and suspected criminals much more easily. Stolen cars are also easier to locate now. Each year, the tracking devices become better and gain new features. While these tracking devices can help keep you safe and protect your family and property, they can also be abused to invade your privacy.

Although the Global Positioning Satellite System (GPS) has many benefits, one of the major concerns that both proponents and opponents of this technology voice is that of gps security and privacy. For example, car rental agencies can utilize gps vehicle tracking devices to determine whether and how often customers exceed speeds of 79 miles per hour. Most individuals who rent cars do not read the fine print in the contract that states customers who exceed this speed can be charged fees in addition to the contract price. This technology can be useful, however; GPS cell phones can monitor the whereabouts of a loved one.

Published January 22nd, 2008

Filed in Business