The new GPS auto tracker technology allows just about anyone to track anyone else. In addition almost all new cell phones have GPS tracking capabilities built in to them. Some even have the ability to transmit location information even with the battery removed. All of which make you wonder what happened to personal privacy. The answer is that there really is no privacy. Granted there are legal restrictions as to how and when you can use the new tracking technology however detecting GPS tracking units can sometimes be difficult.
There are basically two types of GPS tracking device technology available to the public. The simplest is called a passive or logger tracking device. This device is also the most difficult to detect and defend against. These devices can be as small as a matchbook and can be hidden just about anywhere. They are attached to a vehicle or individual and after a specific amount of time they must be retrieved. After retrieval the device is usually attached to a personal computer and the information is downloaded into a data base that is provided by the device manufacture.
Probably the best defense against passive/logger tracking devices comes in the form of a GPS blocker. These small units normally plug into your automobiles cigarette lighter port and provide protection for about 30 feet in any direction. Small handheld units are also available that run on batteries that also provide short range blocking. These units can range in price from $200 to $850.
The second type of GPS auto tracker or personal GPS tracking units are called real time tracking devices. These units do just as the name implies, provide current real time location information on the individual or vehicle that is being tracked. This accomplished through the use of cell phone technology. Recent technology improvements have greatly reduced the size and reliability of these tracking devices. You can purchase a battery operated unit the size of a small cell phone that will provide tracking information for up to a week before the battery requires charging. More commonly these units are attached to a vehicle and use the vehicles power supply to provide power to the tracking unit.
Real time tracking devices generally require the user to contract with a GPS tracking service company. These companies frequently provide the tracking devices and the software necessary to track the device on your personal computer. Depending on the contract the information is uploaded to you at time specific intervals. The most common information uploads range from 5 to 10 minutes.
Defending against this type of tracking device is relatively easy with a combination cell phone/GPS blocking device. These units range in cost from $300 to more than $1000. Of course either a cell phone or a GPS blocking device may accomplish the same affect. In addition if you feel that you are being tracked illegally you can contact your local law enforcement agency and let them do a scan of the vehicle or personal effects in question. Many small law enforcement agencies do not have this capability and in that case you have the option to purchase a scanning unit and do the scan yourself.
A word to the wise if you are involved in a criminal enterprise. Much of what we have outlined here will not prevent US government agencies from tracking you and your vehicles.
In most cases it is illegal to track just about anyone without their permission. However given the fact that is so hard to detect many tracking devices it is likely that illegal GPS auto tracker and personal tracking device technology will continue to be used.