How to Stop the Government From Tracking Your Location (Illegally!)

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals just decided that it was legal for the police to put a GPS tracking device on your car, sitting in your driveway, on your property. Here's how to protect yourself.

Matt's post about the decision explains in depth about the ruling. To quickly summarize, the supreme court had said before that police can look through things that anyone in the public could come across, meaning, your driveway is freely accessible to the public, hence, the cops can look through it. The 9th circuit court now says that cops can shove a GPS locator onto your car, because the area is publicly accessible and you have no reasonable expectation of privacy there. Then said cops can use the GPS track you. Without a warrant.

(Updated above text to improve clarity.)

How do you stop this without combing over the underside—or perhaps even inside—of your car and finding the GPS tracker? With technology.

Your first bet is probably to find out if someone is tracking you or not. You can turn here for cellphone and bug device detectors. But these aren't 100%, so if you're really paranoid and want to hide your location, you'll want to just go ahead and stop the trackers anyway.

The first type is a GPS jammer, which is technically illegal to buy and use in the US, so keep that in mind. These types of GPS jammers plug into the cigarette lighter in your car, and will "prohibit GPS signal" up to 10 meters. Ten meters isn't too far, but it isn't super close either, so cars next to you might get some GPS interference as you drive down the road.

This model is $33. There are handheld and higher-powered versions available for slightly more. Our friends at Brando have one too, for $50.

Update: Jammer Store tells us that the only model that stops all GPS transmission for the police—GPS L1, L2 and L5—is this model. The other GPS models, the cheaper ones, only stop GPS L1 and maybe L2, depending. But if you're talking about stopping EVERY GPS transmission, you have to use the GJ6, which is $430.

If you're worried that someone is tracking your cellphone, there's a signal blocking bag for about $10 that you can shove your device into when not in use.

How to Stop the Government From Tracking Your Location (Illegally!)S

You also have the cellphone-type trackers, which need to be stopped with a different device: a cellphone jammer. There are various portable versions, as well as ones that go into your car. These types of jammers are as illegal as the GPS ones, so again, know what you're getting into.

Is it worth it to go to the potential legal troubles of owning and operating a GPS or cellphone jammer if you're not doing anything wrong? That's up to you to decide. But if you are doing something that you want to make sure the government doesn't know about and they're already surveilling you, it might already be too late to get one of these. [The Jammer Store]