On the road: tackling GPS jammer use | ACMA

Interference

03 June, 2014 03:43 PM

Interference

On the road: tackling GPS jammer use

By Administrator

Jammerinspectors jpg

Truck drivers around the country have been educated about the potential penalties for using a GPS jammer as a result of Operation AUStrans. The ACMA took part in this annual operation, run by the NSW Road and Maritime Service (RMS), after GPS jammer use was reported as an issue in the transport industry. 

The ACMA was involved in the operation from 12–13 May. It was conducted at the Marulan Heavy Vehicle Safety Station, Hume Highway (NSW). The Hume Highway is a major transportation route used by truck drivers who travel the length and breadth of Australia.

Since 2004, it has been illegal to supply, possess (for the purpose of operation or supply) and operate an RNSS jamming device, commonly known as a GPS jammer. Under the Radiocommunications Act 1992, a person found guilty of this offence may receive a court-imposed penalty of up to two years imprisonment or a fine of up to $255,000.

The ACMA spoke with approximately 100 truck drivers over the two-day period about GPS jammers and monitored the spectrum for potential jammer use. Truck drivers were given fact sheets about GPS jammers and were soon spreading the word on the radio about these devices. The monitoring conducted supported previous reports that GPS jammers were being used by some truck drivers.

We also inspected radios used by the truck drivers and found that all devices complied with Australian requirements. 

Truck drivers sometimes use GPS jammers for a number of reasons, including:

  • disguising how long a driver has been working
  • disguising when a shift was worked (which could attract fraudulent penalty rates)
  • allowing trucks to drive down streets that cannot be legally accessed by a large vehicle.

RMS sought the ACMA’s participation in this operation because all of these users have the potential to severely undermine road safety. 

As a result of Operation AUStrans, RMS will use the ACMA’s GPS jammer fact sheet as part of its education and awareness activities for large transport companies. RMS and the NSW Road Transport Authority also know how to identify a GPS jammer and can refer this matter to police or the ACMA for further action. 

An example of a GPS jammer

An example of a GPS jammer

GPS jammers are an ACMA priority compliance area for 2013–14. When operated, they can substantially degrade or disrupt critical military and civilian applications by blocking radiocommunications signals used for the radio-navigation-satellite service.

Click here for further information about our priority compliance areas and follow @acma_operations on Twitter for regular updates.