I ordered it on eBay. Three days later, when the four-ounce envelope arrived from New York City, it seemed harmless enough. It contains a black plastic box the size of a finger, a small black antenna that can be screwed onto the box, and two glass fuses. It is designed to fit the 12-volt power socket of a car (the device used to house the cigarette lighter).

If I connect the gadget to the car, the GPS signal will be disrupted within a 16-foot radius, rendering the smartphone’s Google Maps application unusable and disabling any tracking devices that may be in the car. It sounds harmless, but when you consider that thousands of lives (for example, everyone on a plane now) and billions of dollars rely on reliable and accurate GPS signals, it’s not hard to understand why my small jammer And other similar GPS Jammers. Used, sold or manufactured illegally in the United States. Every time I opened it, I was fined $16,000.

But they are easy to connect, and I am not the only one who ordered it.

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For eight months, security researcher Vlad Gostomelsky has used sophisticated detectors across the country to find out who is using GPS jammers in nature and why. His research shows that despite the risks, ordinary people use interesting cases of jammers every day. He saw truck drivers trying to avoid paying tolls, employees preventing bosses from following their cars, high school students using them to drive drones in restricted areas, and even he trusted the police, infiltrators using them to avoid queuing-and proved in a wireless world , The device you use to avoid detection can actually help you find yourself more easily. You just need to check the correct channel.

Even the sale and use of jammers by the police are federal crimes, ranging from fines to jail time. Regardless of the reason specific to each user, GPS jammers can pose a serious threat and interfere with satellite signals that are dependent on basic systems such as telephones, airplanes, and the New York Stock Exchange. When using one of them, these systems may get stuck.

The global positioning system relies on 31 satellites equipped with atomic clocks to send accurate time data. The receiver calculates its position by determining its precise distance from a few of these satellites. It is not only used for navigation purposes, but also for precise synchronization, for example, for document market transactions (time is money). The noise emitted by the GPS jammer is the same frequency used by the satellite, so the receiver cannot receive the signal. Depending on the broadcast power of the jammer, the jammer may block GPS reception for several meters or kilometers.

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