GPS Tracking

jonrandel via Flickr Creative Commons

With all great innovations comes the potential for mischief. With so much of our social, commercial, and government infrastructure already online, it’s highly likely that we’ve all been targeted by cyber-attacks, even if we haven’t directly felt their results. Cars, computer cams, ATMs, databases, and power grids can be hacked.  In a recent high profile case, a week before one of the world’s most elite hackers was scheduled to demonstrate how to interrupt pacemakers and implanted defibrillators, he was found dead in his apartment. A team at the University of Texas Austin recently experimented with a technique they call “GPS Spoofing.” While that may sound like a YouTube comedy series, “GPS Spoofing” could be used to deadly serious effect.  Todd Humphreys is an assistant professor with the Aerospace Engineering department at UT Austin.

Flikr Creative Commons / avlxyz


The state House of Representatives has passed a bill that would ban the use of GPS devices to secretly track people. The bill would make such tracking illegal someone without a court order.

This was a bill that seemed destined to disappear: in committee it was voted 14 – 0 to refer it for more study. With an election coming up, that would almost certainly mean that the bill would never be seen again.