GLOBAL POSITIONING SYSTEMS (GPS)
The Global Positioning System (GPS) is a navigational and positioning tool that pinpoints a user’s location by triangulating radio signals emitted by a group of satellites. It was originally created for military use but is now available to everyone.
It has proven to be a helpful and life saving tool for families and law enforcement, helping to locate people in need of help or guidance. It is a useful mapping and directional tool as well. It is now common for newer model cars and cell phones to come equipped with GPS. Most cell phone providers offer a service that allows parents to keep track of children through their cell phones.
But, like many other valuable tools, it can also be abused. Stalkers and batterers are using GPS technology to track and harass their victims by:
- installing a GPS device on the victim’s vehicle
- installing a GPS device on the victim’s cell phone
- downloading GPS software onto the victim’s cell phone
- activating a locator service on the victim’s cell phone, if they share the account
- placing a GPS device in the victim’s wallet, purse or on their person
- tracking their victims through GPS assisted social media
HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF:
- Look for patterns in the information the stalker knows. It could reveal the type of technology being used to monitor your activities.
- Trust your instincts. If you suspect you are being followed, it is possible that you are, especially if you are or were in an abusive relationship.
- If the stalker seems to know where you are at all times, go to the police department or find a mechanic who can check your vehicle for a tracking device.
- Avoid “checking in” on social media sites with your cell phone. Your general location can be revealed when you post on these sites.
- Consider that your cell phone and computer and internet activity may also be under surveillance.
- If you are in an abusive relationship and share a cell phone account with the batterer, he/she may have
a locator service activated through the GPS on your phone. Buy a pre-paid cell phone that has no internet
capability for any sensitive calls.
If you feel you are being stalked, speak to a victim advocate who can help assess your situation and advise you on the best course of action. Contact a coalition in your state or any of these organizations that may apply to your situation:
The National Domestic Violence Helpline 800-799-SAFE (7233)
The National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline 866-331-9474
The National Sexual Assault Hotline 800-656-HOPE (4673)
ChildHelp National Child Abuse Hotline 800-4-A-CHILD (800-422-4453)
You can also find more information about stalking at: