Before delving into to the real deal of how to disable a GPS tracker, it is important to appreciate how they function, and why they are used.
GPS trackers are a global positioning system that uses radio signals from satellites in detecting and monitoring and locating targets on the earth surface. These satellites that provide the signals used by GPS devices are called global navigation satellite systems (GNSS).
This technology is owned by the United States government. Licenses for its use are provided by the Department of Defense of the United States. Their use is also subject to the laws as stipulated by the United States.
When this tracking system was developed, it was engineered for use by the US military for their operations. However, the use of GPS technology is not only limited to military operations.
Following the growing need for surveillance at homes, offices and even in companies, there has been a surge in the use of GPS devices in these spheres of life. Such applications could involve monitoring vehicles, properties and even humans.
These cases are not far-fetched as some cars come with in-built tracking devices. Since the use of GPS devices indirectly, and in some cases directly, involves monitoring humans, there are legalities that surround its use.
Before we go into the intricacies of the legal issues surrounding the use of GPS trackers, let us also consider types of GPS devices as part of the effort geared towards understanding how they work.
Types of GPS Tracking Devices
The Data Logger or Passive GPS
First category of GPS tracking devices is the data logger or the passive GPS device. The data logger is more like a storage device for tracking and recording the position and time data of a target. They usually contain memory cards or hard disk drives for storing the location data obtained from the satellite system.
The data they stored is latitude and longitude of the target. In some advanced devices, they are also able to provide the time and velocity of the target (for a moving target).
This type of device is used for applications where the location of the target is not required all the time. If this suits your needs, such GPS devices are available on Amazon.
Data Pusher or Active GPS
The other category is the data pusher or the active GPS tracking device. This system is able to transmit real-time data at intervals to a central server.
They use cell phones or internet network for transmitting such data to the central server. This is the type of monitoring device used by fleet management companies for monitoring trans-route vehicles and is also available on Amazon.
Hybrid GPS Trackers
The last category is the hybrid species. This type of device functions both as a data logger, and as a data pusher. This, in essence, means that it is able to both transmit the location data to a central server while still able to save them in an in-built memory device.
They are other specialized systems such as the On-Board Devices (OBD). This type is installed by vehicle manufacturers as an anti-theft system.
The hybrid system is suitable for all sorts of surveillance operations. This is why they are the most common in the market. This does not in any way undermine the effectiveness of other GPS types.
How to Disable a GPS Tracker
There are legitimate purposes for the installation of GPS devices. Such applications include fleet management, monitoring trans-route transport vehicles and authorized monitoring of individuals for security purposes.
People also decide to monitor family members for security reasons. If the person is a minor, his consent may not be sought.
However, if he is an adult, you may be contravening his rights if he is not duly informed before tagging them or their car with a GPS tracker.
If GPS devices are installed on a property within the confines of the law, it is unlawful to remove or disable them.
However, if they are installed illegally, it is your right to not only disable such devices, but to uninstall them and report such stalkers to the appropriate authority.
If you suspect that you are being monitored using a GPS tracker, here are steps you could take to find and disable them.
Step 1 Identify and Locate the Tracking Device
Once you suspect you are being monitored, the next step is to identify how you are being monitored. There are two common ways you could be monitored. The first is by placing a tracker on your phone or in your car. If the tracker is on your cell phone, it is a lot easier to know.
There are simple signs to look out for. If your phone battery suddenly begins to drain quickly even when you have not increased its usage, then your phone could be bugged.
Another common sign is when your phone light comes on frequently even when nothing visible is active on your phone. The next sure sign is when your phone gets hot too often even when you are not using it.
If it is your vehicle that is being tracked, sadly, there is no way of knowing. If you trust your guts that you are monitored and that your car has been tagged with a tracking device, then you have to conduct a sweep in your car.
Most GPS tracking devices are small, approximately the size of a match box. It is mostly black in color or sometimes ash in color.
There are a few places where a GPS device could be hidden in a vehicle. You can learn more about them here. Searching for this device manually is significantly hectic. It requires a good knowledge of the possible places where such devices could be hidden.
Another effective means of locating this device is by the use of a GPS detector. Such devices are able to detect the GPS signal emanating from the device. Using this signal, the detector is able to lead you to the exact location where this bug is hidden. You can purchase such detectors on Amazon.
Step 2 Disable the Tracking Device
Now that you have located this GPS device, the next action is learning how to disable it. One of the easiest ways of disabling a GPS tracking device is by using a GPS jamming system. Such devices are able to intercept the GPS signal and prevent them from being transmitted to the central server.
This device is easy to install. All you have to do is to plug it into the cigarette lighter pug in your car and your operation is a go.
This method costs money. More so, the use of jamming devices is not legal in some countries.
The other alternative means of disabling the tracker is turning off the tracker. In some very tricky devices, this might not be possible. But then, there is another weakness of GPS tracking device that could be exploited.
This is the fact that GPS devices use batteries. You could either disconnect the battery from the tracker or disconnect the GPS tracking device from your car (if it is connected to electrical power of your car).
Doing any of the above recommended techniques solves the problem of disabling the GPS tracking device in your car.
However, if the tracker is in your phone, you need to find and uninstall the client software in your phone.
Such client software are designed to be compatible with Android, Symbian, Blackberry and iPhones operating systems. Once you uninstall the client software in your phone, normalcy will be restored.
It is however important to note that it is illegal to uninstall a GPS tracker that has been legitimately installed for surveillance purposes.
Here is a video that illustrates how to discover and uninstall a GPS tracker: