Improved GPS Tracking: Friend or Foe?

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GPS tracking devices are continuously improving. It was only a few years ago that the best commercially available tracking device was nearly as big as a snow globe, with accuracy discrepancies the size of a football field. Since then, the devices have become smaller, more accurate, and more affordable than ever. It wont be long before the GPS dot envisioned in the 2006 Sony Picture’s film, The Da Vinci Code, becomes a reality. Todd Humphreys, of the Department of Aerospace Engineering Mechanics at the University of Texas at Austin, speculates in a recent article published at InsideGNSS.com that GPS dot-like devices may be available to consumers within the next few years.

There are many advantages to easy, accurate, and affordable GPS tracking dots. WIth devices like these, people will be able to track anything and everything of value. Owners could stick the tiny tracking devices on their children, pets, vehicles, bikes, cameras, and just about anything else. Aside from valuables, the devices can track everyday items that tend to get misplaced. By simply attaching a tracking device to one’s glasses, keys, the remote control, or whatever item that seems to frequently disappear, you can save hours of time that would be spent retracing your steps.

As personal GPS tracking gets easier and more affordable, it can be easy to lose site of the threats posed by such technology. The more accessible and discrete these devices become, the more they will be used by predators. Earlier this year, the United States Supreme Court ruled that law enforcement must obtain a warrant before tracking suspects with GPS technology. Unfortunately, the laws surrounding citizen-on-citizen tracking are more ambiguous. A more discrete tracking device can make it more difficult for thieves to detect, helping police recover stolen property. However, these devices can also be very difficult to detect in the event that someone is tracking you without your permission. One can hope that as GPS technology advances, we will find better solutions to protect our privacy.

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Marisa O'Connor

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