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U.S. May Reduce Non-Military GPS Accuracy

timothy posted about 11 years ago | from the geocaching-will-be-more-challenging dept.

United States 772

ward99 writes "The U.S. government may be degrading GPS satellite signals, to cripple Iraqi forces' ability to use those systems during the war. This could potentially reduce accuracy from ~3 meters to over ~100 meters. Users depending on GPS systems may want to do sanity checks on any data returned by those systems during the war. The U.S. will do this by increasing the inaccuracies on the civilian C/A code, turning back on S/A (Selective Availability), by having the satellites deliberately and randomly return inaccurate information on where they are. S/A degrades GPS accuracy to only 100 meters 95 percent of the time and 300 meters the other 5 percent of the time. This will not effect the military P code."

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first (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#5543045)

check the accuracy of that!

werd to teh motha fuckn grasshoppers (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#5543048)

and ALL my dead troll homies.

scanez lieks teh anel!!!!1

Hee. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#5543049)

First lost.

This was *exactly* why we here in Europe... (2, Insightful)

Inf0phreak (627499) | about 11 years ago | (#5543050)

shouldn't have scratched our own satelite project (named Galileo, IIRC)

Re:This was *exactly* why we here in Europe... (5, Informative)

pteron (11383) | about 11 years ago | (#5543082)

According to http://europa.eu.int/comm/dgs/energy_transport/gal ileo/faq/index_en.htm
it hasn't been scratched.

Re:This was *exactly* why we here in Europe... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#5543097)

Galileo is doing well and will be operational in 2008. What are you smoking?

Re:This was *exactly* why we here in Europe... (1, Insightful)

October_30th (531777) | about 11 years ago | (#5543104)

Wouldn't funding and improving an existing system such as Glonass be less expensive?

Re:This was *exactly* why we here in Europe... (5, Interesting)

Amroarer (645110) | about 11 years ago | (#5543132)

Even if it was, it would still remain under the control of the Russian military, just as GPS is under the control of the Pentagon.

The whole point (well, one of the major ones, anyway) of Galileo was to create a network which wouldn't be under military control, and so could be relied upon not to be switched off at inconvenient moments.

Re:This was *exactly* why we here in Europe... (-1, Flamebait)

evil_roy (241455) | about 11 years ago | (#5543158)

Europe , actually doing something rather than:

(a) being bailed out
(b) finding fault with someone else instead

Now that's funny!

A question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#5543051)

Why can't consumer GPS units be modified to read from the militaries signal?

Re:A question (5, Informative)

Apro+im (241275) | about 11 years ago | (#5543118)

Because that would defeat the purpose of the military code.

GPS 101:

Every GPS unit stores internally a fairly accurate clock, a database of every GPS sattelite's individual code and its expected position in the sky for something like the next few weeks. This information is updated by syncing with a sattelite every so often. These codes are long enough that based on what portion of the code the receiver is receiving at a given time from a particular sattelite, it can calculate the time elapsed since the signal left the sattelite (by comparing to what portion of the code the sattelite should be transmitting according to its internal clock).
Using time elapsed, and roughly the speed of light (with minor corrections) for the speed of the wave, it can then calculate distance from the sattelite. Given three sattelites, you narrow down your location to one of two points (the maximum number of points of intersection of two non-congruent spheres. Luckily, one of these points is almost always inside the earth or in outer space, so a fourth sattelite isn't needed for that triangulation.
A fourth sattelite is used, however to make corrections for the GPS receiver's internal clock. That is, the receiver assumes its clock is off of the atomic clock in each sattelite by a constante amount, and therefore a fourth sphere won't intersect either of the points of intersection. However, by correcting for a constant time difference, the points of intersection eventually line up, and that is a fairly good approximation of the unit's location.
This means, by telling the sattelitest to vary the rate of transmission of their own unique code in some random way, the accuracy can be made much lower.
Since the system is based on knowledge of the codes, and only the civilian codes are published, the military codes look like just noise.

So there you have it - if the military doesn't give us the necessary information about the sattelites (information that changes every so often), we have no way of using the military-level accuracy.

Re:A question (0, Funny)

Ryan Amos (16972) | about 11 years ago | (#5543123)

First guess says you need satellite access codes. Second guess says the stream is probably VERY well encrypted. Third guess says that if you access the military channels without permission, you'll have men in black helicopters doing fastrope descents on your place of residence within a few minutes (it's GPS, so they already know where you are.) Though I could just be blowing this out my ass, who knows.

Re:A question (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#5543141)

Yes, you are.

Army's stuff (4, Insightful)

SlamMan (221834) | about 11 years ago | (#5543052)

Don't like it, but it's the army's stuff. They can degrade it that far if they want to. Don't like it? Send up your own GPS satalites.

Re:Army's stuff (2, Interesting)

Gordonjcp (186804) | about 11 years ago | (#5543061)

Or use differential GPS, and get accuracy to a few tens of millimeters.

Re:Army's stuff (4, Informative)

Apro+im (241275) | about 11 years ago | (#5543151)

Actually, won't work - differential GPS only really corrects the innacuracies inherent to the correctly operating system.

IIRC, differential GPS is where you correct for clock error by using a fixed point with a very accurate latitude/longitude measurement as one of your "sattelites". However, let's say the GPS sattelites decide to coordinatedly broadcast the signal that according to the receiver's internal database hey would a few nanoseconds in the future - it would throw off all correction measures, since they all depend on all your sattelites (including your ground station "sattelite") to be using the same clock, and that that clock matches up with the database.

It is worth noting that this is a localised effect (5, Interesting)

James_Duncan8181 (588316) | about 11 years ago | (#5543055)

As the GPS network can be degraded or upgraded region by region. I used to be in military service and one of our tips for civilians was that they could always tell when the shit was really about to hit the fan because the GPS accuracy will change massively when compared to a know coordinate point.

Interestingly we were also told that it is not usually done before 24h from action. Anyone want to go a $10 bet with me on that? ;)

Re:It is worth noting that this is a localised eff (2, Interesting)

jkrise (535370) | about 11 years ago | (#5543140)

"the GPS network can be degraded or upgraded region by region"

Who holds the keys to this action? Does it mean all GPS systems are at the mercy of a single entity in the US which can degrade or upgrade accuracy as it may please?

Worse than terrorism, it seems to me. I've seen GPS based land-use data systems. Wonder what'd happen if they're built using degraded data.

Re:It is worth noting that this is a localised eff (5, Informative)

Chanc_Gorkon (94133) | about 11 years ago | (#5543186)

Well, in a word....yes. The DOD was just being nice by letting the public use it. They did not have to make it available to the public. That said, there are alot of other systems that rely on GPS and they just can turn on SA over night.

Re:It is worth noting that this is a localised eff (4, Insightful)

Chanc_Gorkon (94133) | about 11 years ago | (#5543172)

I was going to say that I thought they had figure out how to scramble or turn on SA where they wanted to. Do the editors check even the story? The newsline was frankfurt, not here in the good old US of A! The old SA is not going to be reinstated. Too many of our homeland thing depend on it. Planes, delivery persons and anyone else who needs to know where they are. Things are much different then during the gulf war. Many people depend on GPS's for at least some navigation.

Not Globaly (2, Insightful)

sigxcpu (456479) | about 11 years ago | (#5543056)

Since GPS requiers line of sight to the satalites there is no reason to degrade the service globaly.
I'd be surprised if you would nothice any change in the US.

Re:Not Globaly (1)

oingoboingo (179159) | about 11 years ago | (#5543068)

I'd be surprised if you would nothice any change in the US.

Not unless Bin Laden is planning to use GPS to steer the next lot of passenger jets into large buildings.

Re:Not Globaly (3, Informative)

two_socks (516862) | about 11 years ago | (#5543139)

I wouldn't be too surprised to see the slight drop in accurracy the post talks about implemented in the US.

When you start to think that they guy who dropped guided missiles on Israel for the sheer joy of maybe killing some jews now has a UAV, and look at how low-tech crop spraying equipment is, then reflect that he had an anthrax weaponization program, maybe it would be better for people to have to actually use their eyes for the last third of a kilometer than to make this something you could steer a drone with...

Ouch (2, Informative)

Apro+im (241275) | about 11 years ago | (#5543057)

This may seriously affect my handy-dandy Honda navigation system built into my Odyssey - it already has trouble guessing which road I'm on when the roads are close together - imagine it thinking I'm a block away from where I really am.

Re:Ouch (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#5543136)

imagine it thinking I'm a block away from where I really am.

Imagine, you could end up fucking a girl at the right address but on the wrong street, thinking it was your girlfriend.

Sanity checks.. (2, Insightful)

jkrise (535370) | about 11 years ago | (#5543058)

" Users depending on GPS systems may want to do sanity checks on any data "

Which sane person would rely on GPS data for something even as trivial as navigation? Incidentally, how does one check GPS data? Against another GPS??

Re:Sanity checks.. (4, Funny)

zCyl (14362) | about 11 years ago | (#5543080)

Which sane person would rely on GPS data for something even as trivial as navigation?

Have you tried navigating by the stars during the day lately? The blue room can be a big scary place.

Re:Sanity checks.. (4, Interesting)

James_Duncan8181 (588316) | about 11 years ago | (#5543096)

For your 2 questions:

a) A sane person would rely on GPS because they may not be very good with compass and map, or they may have cordinates for something not marked on a map. When driving at speed the margin of error is negligible, and it enables you to navigate through featureless terrain such as desert playa which are impossible to use a map in.

v)Well...I would walk to a point which I knew the exact location of and then do 10 or 15 GPS location checks to see what the margin of error was.

Did you really not know these answers or am I just feeding a troll?

Re:Sanity checks.. (1)

SlamMan (221834) | about 11 years ago | (#5543107)

No, but you might use GPS for locational data for your other data collections. Most people who use GIS's use GPS data in one way or another. For instance, census collectors made heavy use of GPS durring the last set of door-knockings.

Good stuff (2, Funny)

sokkelih (632304) | about 11 years ago | (#5543059)

This means that my grand dad can get lost in forrest while picking up mushrooms. I can get my legacy faster. :)

Re:Good stuff (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#5543142)

But what if your grandfather's legacy to you was some really kick-ass mushrooms? :(

Re:Good stuff (1, Funny)

ramzak2k (596734) | about 11 years ago | (#5543143)

hey shonny, i heard ya .. haw haw.
I am sending your grandma to get the mushrooms today.

Re:Good stuff (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#5543166)


What about Gallileo (if it was operative) (3, Interesting)

pork_spies (659663) | about 11 years ago | (#5543062)

Would be interesting to know what the EU would do with Gallileo at this moment in time. I dare say they would follow the US lead, I suppose...

Re:What about Gallileo (if it was operative) (2, Interesting)

jeremyp (130771) | about 11 years ago | (#5543156)

I doubt it since a lot of the European countries are not enthusiastic about a war and France in particular is dead against it. France is the main driver behind the European space effort.

Re:What about Gallileo (if it was operative) (2, Interesting)

slashtom.org (634097) | about 11 years ago | (#5543187)

Not a chance! Does it look like France and Germany are doing what the US tell them.

But what chance has the EU got of getting Gallileo working in the next decade. Their current military project, the Eurofighter is years behind and billions over budget.

What about people in US (1)

LinuxMacWin (79859) | about 11 years ago | (#5543065)

The article is German centric and talks about effect on people in Germany !! Any idean if it will impact US GPS systems?

Re:What about people in US (1)

parsnip_soup (659614) | about 11 years ago | (#5543173)

I believe it has already been stated above that it is unlikely to affect gps readings in the US, since the area of affect is regionalised, and GPS requires line of site between satelite/reciever, hence it's unlikely any of the affected satelites around the middle east would be used in calculating locations on the other side of the world, ie, the US.

Wow (2, Interesting)

koh (124962) | about 11 years ago | (#5543066)

...by having the satellites deliberately and randomly return inaccurate information on where they are.

Isn't that supposed to be terrorism ? ;)

Nope! (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#5543088)

Tax money makes terror legal. ppl who have no money are terrorists.

Re:Nope! (1)

Apro+im (241275) | about 11 years ago | (#5543174)

It's not like they're sabotaging a civilian system. The GPS sattelites are owned and run by the US government. It is sheerly at the government's discretion with whom they share information needed to use the sattelites - I suppose, in theory, they could mute sattelites when they were out of the line of sight of the US (though that wouldn't really serve a purpose).

Re:Wow (1)

bluelip (123578) | about 11 years ago | (#5543124)

No, it's called protecting our troops and those of our allies.

Re:Wow (1)

los furtive (232491) | about 11 years ago | (#5543155)

No, it's called protecting our troops and those of our allies.

Uh, those would be your troops, not mine.

Re:Wow (-1, Flamebait)

bluelip (123578) | about 11 years ago | (#5543175)

Oh, you're from one of those countries that _SUPPORTS_ terrorism? Or are you of the one that supplied them with the tools to make nuclear weapons? Or did you guys supply them with weapons since the last war?

I hate Bush (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#5543069)

He's a bloody wanker. How thick is this retard? Your country must be poor for choice if this guy gets elected.

I suppose G Bush, III, will take over then dubya quits?

You yanks are more backwards then iraq.

Re:I hate Bush (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#5543091)

Where's good plastic shredder when you need one?

Re:I hate Bush (-1, Offtopic)

NiteHaqr (29663) | about 11 years ago | (#5543098)

Its the new US Democratic Monarchy.

It took us hundreds of years to breed retards like Prince Charles (eco-friendly out of touch guy - he asked Natalie Portman at the Phantom Menace if she had been in any of the 1st three (chronologicaly) Star Wars Films) and he brother Prince Edward (media mogul-wannabe - violated press privacy agreements regarding his OWN nephews college years).

Guess the Yanks are just trying to avoid the unlearning-curve and start with the Bush's

What about last time? (2, Insightful)

kEnder242 (262421) | about 11 years ago | (#5543070)

Last time they turned off the S/A during the war, cheaper that way using off the shelf gps.

You can always have a radio broadcasting the offsets from a known location to compensate.

Re:What about last time? (4, Interesting)

Nogami_Saeko (466595) | about 11 years ago | (#5543110)

There was a big discussion on one of the GPS newsgroups about this very fact - at the time of the last gulf war, civillian GPS units were cheaper, more plentiful, and had more features that the troops wanted/required than the more cumbersome military GPS units.

One of the soldiers was talking about it in the group and basically said the military units were limited to showing long/lat and doing goto-waypoint distance/direction operations. At the same time, civillian units had mapping capabilities, easy to use graphic displays, and were about 1/2 the size.

As other posters have said, it's possible to adjust the SA signal geographically, so they could degrade the signal in the middle east without changing anything in north america. This is the first step that seems logical.

Alternately, they could leave SA off alltogether, and just jam the GPS signal in the area that they are performing operations - the GPS signal is relatively weak and an ECM aircraft could easily block hundreds of miles of GPS reception while flying out of range of ground-based weaponry.


doubt if it will make any real difference (4, Interesting)

guybarr (447727) | about 11 years ago | (#5543072)

My guess is that for high-precision locations, the Iraqis already measured them with high accuracy, while for, say, infantry navigation all you really need is 100m accuracy. (Even less for armored forces, of cource)

And given the air threat, I also doubt their forces will change their localtions too much; if it's camouflaged enough to survive the initial attacks, it will probably stay put.

Re:doubt if it will make any real difference (1)

GMontag (42283) | about 11 years ago | (#5543168)

Have things changed these days for the worst?

In the USian Army we required 100m accuracy for Armor, 10m accuracy for Infantry/dismounted folks. All of the instruction had these tolerances.

Re:doubt if it will make any real difference (1)

trikberg (621893) | about 11 years ago | (#5543185)

Mobile field artillery needs as good precision as possible. If you rely on GPS and fire dozens of huge grenades (or unguided rockets) hundreds of meters off the target, you'll probably wipe out more friendly forces than enemies.

If you think it is not hard, consider this: The howitzers and cannons move in a pretty much featureless landscape. Before shooting they are stabilized using shovels and sledgehammers, not exactly precision tools. You use a barrel of a few meters to aim a grenade that flies for 10-50 kilometers. If you mess up the settings by a few centimeters, the aim will be off by a lot in the other end. There's some fancy optics and a lot of mathematics involved to get it right.

I should know since I've fired maybe a hundred grenades using a 122mm field howitzer, very similar to the models used by Iraq: Finland uses some Soviet designs with small mods.

What about tankers, ships and harbors? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#5543074)

Do they really know how much a captain depends on GPS these days, especially when it comes to passing in and out of harbors? I hope this won't wreck another tanker somewhere.

Re:What about tankers, ships and harbors? (5, Informative)

James_Duncan8181 (588316) | about 11 years ago | (#5543121)

This is why all harbours have pilot boats that deliver a helmsman who knows that harbour (he is their employee) to guide large tankers etc in.

Small boats franky should not be on the water if they cannot stay the right side of a clearly marked beacon. This is equivelent to saying "I have no GPS, how will I know what side of the road to drive on".

Re:What about tankers, ships and harbors? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#5543133)

In that case, what are tankers doing using a system which can and will obviously be degraded from time to time. That was a dumb choice. Then again, the whole point of the way is to keep the tankers full of fuel, so I'm sure if this is a problem then its one that's been thought of.

Re:What about tankers, ships and harbors? (1)

jointm1k (591234) | about 11 years ago | (#5543150)

I don't think you have to worry about that. Tankers are even bigger then the accuracy of the public signal (100 meters). Besides, even a 300 square meter area in the ocean is like a poststamp to us. Especially for those big ships like oil tankers.

Re:What about tankers, ships and harbors? (1)

stoney27 (36372) | about 11 years ago | (#5543165)

Large ships have differential GPS units where the harbor masters broad cast a error correcting signal which gives the ships very good accuracy. This is the same technique used by surveyors.


There is no evidence of the claim (5, Insightful)

MyNameIsFred (543994) | about 11 years ago | (#5543076)

Let me understand this, the head of a German Autoclub says the U.S. military MAY, I repeat MAY, degrade GPS accuracy. No evidence. Just pure conjecture. Consider that GPS has woven itself into our lives. How, it arguably supports critical functions. I strongly doubt that they will do this. While I understand the world's fears concerning GPS because it is run by the military, I put this article in with all FUD.

Re:There is no evidence of the claim (1, Troll)

Ryan Amos (16972) | about 11 years ago | (#5543095)

Yes except the US Military owns the satellites and basically lets everyone else use them so they're not just a waste of space (pun intended.) Also worth noting is that they can do this locally, so basically the accurracy would probably only decrease (if it does at all) in the areas in and around Iraq. I doubt the US or western Europe will be affected at all.

Re:There is no evidence of the claim (1)

slashtom.org (634097) | about 11 years ago | (#5543146)

They may take the view that making GPS more inaccurate may hinder a terrorist attack aimed at a specific target.

If they have advance knowledge of an attack, then they may make GPS inaccurate for just a particular area of US/Europe.

Re:There is no evidence of the claim (1)

Apro+im (241275) | about 11 years ago | (#5543189)

Up until 3-4 years ago, they did do this - so there are few questions as to their willingness.

What about planes?? (5, Interesting)

borgdows (599861) | about 11 years ago | (#5543077)

Civilian planes use GPS, don't they?
What about other critical systems like police, ambulance, fire brigades and so on??

Re:What about planes?? (2)

bluelip (123578) | about 11 years ago | (#5543111)

The ability to downgrade the precision of for civilian gps units has existed for years. Whoever designed the system should have already taken this into account.

Re:What about planes?? (5, Informative)

mwillems (266506) | about 11 years ago | (#5543154)

In small planes (I used to fly them), GPS is auxiliary. A good pilot does not rely on GPS. Precisely becuase it dould be disabled.

And in large aircraft, where GPS is used there are many other systems as backup. And final approach etc is of course never based on GPS. So, do not worry.


Re:What about planes?? (4, Informative)

flonker (526111) | about 11 years ago | (#5543163)

Last I heard, GPS is not approved for navigational use by the FAA. Meaning, you can use it, but you need to have alternate systems, and can't rely on it.

Civilian planes will still use navigational radio beacons. This is one of the first things they teach you when you go for a private pilot's license. (First step for a non-military commercial pilot's license. Military licensing is probably similar.)

effect/affect (0)

TummyX (84871) | about 11 years ago | (#5543078)

This will not effect the military P code.

Effects affect things.

Re:effect/affect (1)

amcguinn (549297) | about 11 years ago | (#5543138)

Shout it!

People who get this wrong really need treatment.

I used to fantasise about setting up a "Remedial English Grammar" course at my last workplace, but the #1 person who needed to be on it was the Managing Director.

I think the reason this particular example gets me so angry is because everyone knows that "X is affected" is correct, but some people think that "X is effected" means the same thing and sounds "cleverer". So "X is effected" doesn't just mean "I am ignorant" (many people can't help that), it means "I am ignorant, but I think I am clever".

What about differential GPS (1)

msmalcelj (70865) | about 11 years ago | (#5543083)

Can someone comment on feasibility of Differential GPS infrastructure for country that hasn't got own satelites, but wants to secure precise locating ability for services from 911 to Public transportation.

Thats one reason why europe should build own GPS (5, Interesting)

Neuronerd (594981) | about 11 years ago | (#5543086)

There are plans for building a similar system to GPS in Europe so that we are not too much depending on the american empire. The following page [satcoms.org.uk] nicely explains the concept. More is available here [eu.int]. This is technically very interesting and should open up new possibilities for navigation. Furthermore being constructed jointly by many partners and nations we can be reasonably sure that it can not be compromised by one weak leader.

Re:Thats one reason why europe should build own GP (1)

Zone-MR (631588) | about 11 years ago | (#5543147)

What would that help? Are you saying that you are against the idea of scarambling the singnals when neccessary to prevent Iraqi missiles bombing our asses?

If Iraq are stupid enough to design technology to use during war, that relies on a signal transmitted by their enemy, I believe the idea of dissrupting that signal - locally and temporarily is very sly indeed.

What I find distrubing in the article is that newer GPS receivers wont be affected. How does that work, and isnt that a flaw unless they know for certain Iraqi missiles rely on the 'old' technology?

Re:Thats one reason why europe should build own GP (1)

ccmay (116316) | about 11 years ago | (#5543159)

Yes, we all know how well European bureaucracies compete with American ingenuity... X.500 anyone?


moron USers being conned buy Godless frauds.. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#5543087)

va lairIE's patentdead PostBlock(tm) device, etc..

This from a republican:

Missouri GOP Chairman Resignation Letter

I grieve for our nation, and the untold suffering that will be wrought. As history has shown, you can possess the greatest armaments in the world, but if your cause and motives are not right, only catastrophe will result.

Jack Walters


As the Bush administration moves toward certain war in the Middle East--a war which I believe nothing good will come from, a war which is unjust, unnecessary, and a war which will undoubtedly widen, perhaps even into world war, thereby placing our nation in dire peril--I have made a decision regarding my position as Boone County Republican Chairman.

Wars are easy to get into, but very difficult to get out of. They can sap the moral and spiritual fiber of a nation, squander lives and resources, deplete scarce funds, cause undue hardship on all involved, destroy families, and engender hopelessness.

I have questioned both the motives for military action at this time, and the ever-changing, illogical justifications presented to us in what has to be one of the greatest media propaganda blitzes ever force-fed a populace. Any time ground troops are deployed, serious questions must be asked and real answers demanded. The jingoistic rhetoric we are receiving does not constitute legitimate answers.

The consequences of our planned attack on Iraq (and also probably Iran, given the size of our forces and their location in proximity to Iran), should cause us all to pause. The Pentagon has announced that we will hit Baghdad with a force almost equal to the bombing of Hiroshima. Obviously many thousands of civilians will perish, with untold thousands maimed. And for what? To liberate them? To bring them freedom? Or democracy? Or is it to really secure the world's second largest oil reserve and establish a base from which to subjugate other Middle Eastern nations? Is it also the plan for Israel to use the cover of war to forcibly relocate the Palestinian population (as has been publicly stated by some members of Israel's current government)?

How on earth have we arrived at this crucial juncture in our country's history? How has a war on terrorism been converted into an attack on Iraq? What threat does Iraq pose to us? We must lay the blame squarely on our congress, who according to our Constitution, only has the power to declare war. For congress to cede it's war-making power to the executive branch is unconstitutional on the very face of it and effectively destroys our three branches of government. Circumventing our Constitution is very bad, and the undeclared wars, which have resulted in our recent history, have had disastrous results. Undeclared wars have no declared objectives, and therefore can widen at will, and our foray into the Middle East will likely set in motion a long-term wave of retaliation. Indeed, I believe that the administration would like to entice Iraq into firing the first blow so some justification could be paraded at the United Nations. If the United States government can adopt this unreal doctrine of preemptive attack on any nation, anywhere, at any time, so can other nations! This is how world wars begin. If the President goes into Iraq alone without a UN resolution, he will be in violation of the war powers given him last October by congress which was contingent on UN approval. A constitutional crisis will occur.--

buy the weigh, nothing else matters, until sum of this phonIE payper liesense stock markup greed/fear based bullying/theft is intervened on in a genuine manner, we're all pawns in some ?pr? bullunder gone awry.

writing suckup storIEs about/advertising for, the felonious kingdumb, won't help (makes IT worse), robbIE?

Gelileo (1, Flamebait)

matt4077 (581118) | about 11 years ago | (#5543093)

Can't wait for the european system to be up and working. Nothing better than a little competition. And hopefully the us and europe will never be at war at the same time.

Re:Gelileo (-1, Flamebait)

jalet (36114) | about 11 years ago | (#5543137)

> hopefully the us and europe will never be at war
> at the same time.

No doubt that Europe some day will be the next on the US' countries-to-invade-because-god-told-us-so list.

Re:Gelileo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#5543169)

I would say Europe will be next on the GW Busg list-of-countries-to-invade-because-god-told-me-to -since-I-recovered-from -alcoholism.

In other news today... (4, Funny)

Noryungi (70322) | about 11 years ago | (#5543094)

John R. Smith, of Peoria (Ill.) drove his brand-new SUV through the security glass doors of his bank, while following his GPS navigator.

"I was only following the indications of this @!!%!! machine -- and it told me I still needed to travel straight ahead for a hundred meters!", Smith tried to explain as he was taken into custody by the Peoria Police Department for "breaking and entering".

The Peoria Intercontinental Bank representatives were unavailable for comments.

STDMA (3, Interesting)

G3ckoG33k (647276) | about 11 years ago | (#5543099)

There is a better alternative to GPS named STDMA (Self-organizing Time Division Multiple Access). It is patented with U.S. Patent No. 5,506,587, which you may find HERE [uspto.gov].

It is in use in marine navigation. See also HERE [marinelog.com] and for a tech overview HERE [transpondertech.se].

Apparently, the US has tried to suppress the system as it may well replace GPS because of better performance and other reasons; one can imagine wartime control may be of importance here.

This hardly seems 'fair' (1, Insightful)

bushboy (112290) | about 11 years ago | (#5543100)

But then again, there's not much fairness in this whole debacle.

I'm not about to argue with that kinda military force - only a madman would do that ;)

A Regional Blackout More Likely (4, Informative)

avdi (66548) | about 11 years ago | (#5543103)

It's more likely that localized blackout or jamming in the Iraq region will be used, rather than a global downgrade. See here [newscientist.com] for more.

Whoops! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#5543105)

... pile-up outside the French embassy!

So the US sold the GPS equipment as well? (2, Funny)

Snaller (147050) | about 11 years ago | (#5543106)

I mean I know they sold them Anthrax, but didn't know about the GPS euipment ;)

Fantastic (-1, Flamebait)

goldcd (587052) | about 11 years ago | (#5543117)

Now not only do I have to sit back and watch my government join in on an illegal war - I can now spend my days getting lost in gridlock as my GPS starts randomly positioning me. *sighs*


Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#5543157)

the GPS positions YOU!

(It's only a local effect - it will only matter in the war zone, not in Europe or in the US)

Damn CNN! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#5543122)

Fuck!! I was just at their site and unable to find a counter counting the hours... Does anyone know where it is? This would be the first time CNN doesn't have one.. and I want to get every shit done before the action starts and i can enjoy it on CNN...

Exactly why GPS can't be trusted (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#5543135)

If this isn't the best (and only needed) reason anyone would NOT use GPS for critical applications, such as airplane collision avoidance systems, I don't think I'll ever see one.

Then they ask why Europe don't want to use GPS for exactly this application. Duh!

Re:Exactly why GPS can't be trusted (1)

jointm1k (591234) | about 11 years ago | (#5543190)

Even if the US army would not have the accuracy reduced, you still cannot use GPS for critical application. Why? Because GPS is unreliable. There is definitly no guarantee your signal was consistent the whole time during a measurement. There is no way to verify you always have to precision you need. This is the primairy reason the US army is against the European Galileo system. This European system would have checks build into it which would enable one to make judgements about the precision and accuracy of measurements. Since the GPS doesn't have this feature, it would pose a great commercial threat to the US.

Alternative Global Satellite Positioning (5, Informative)

Gryftir (161058) | about 11 years ago | (#5543161)

There are two alternatives to the GPS system.

Galileo, which is planned to be completed in 2008, is the EU's alternative. It uses dual frequencies, and may increase accuracy to only a meter. Unforunatly, not all of the 30 sattelites are deployed, and the recievers don't seem to have been built.


GLobal Orbiting NAvigation Satellite System

this is the Russian system, which has a 10 / 20 meter accuracy for it's military signals, and 100 meter accuracy for it's degraded civilian signals.

If Iraqi is going to use something else, it would probably be GLONASS as it is fully operational.

Air Force Space Command GPS Status Page (2, Informative)

SecGreen (577669) | about 11 years ago | (#5543178)

Click here [af.mil] for the AFSC's GPS Constellation Status Page. Assuming that it isn't deemed operationally sensitive info, any announcement of reduced capability should be available here.

You hit Israle with you over distance rockets (0, Offtopic)

oliverthered (187439) | about 11 years ago | (#5543180)

We used your fucked up GPS signals to guide the WMD that you provided all the raw materials for and had provided us in the past.

Anyonly else ever think of gasing the Iraqi population apart from the UK?

Gosh..,. (-1, Troll)

Fuzzums (250400) | about 11 years ago | (#5543181)

I didn't see that one coming.
just as the fact that
- i didn't see the war coming
- terroriste aren't the only reason to attack
- internal conflicts start when bush is gone.
- europe has to clean up the country once bush is gone.

mod me down, but mark my words.

just take that stable democracy in Afghanistan as an example.

Prisoners (1)

oniony (228405) | about 11 years ago | (#5543182)

Does the US employ prisoner tagging using GPS technology for 'soft' imprisonment of criminals to their homes or local area? If so, have the implications of inaccurate GPS been considered in this respect, i.e. the confined area becoming suddenly wider.

I guess their choices are to move the tagged prisoners back to jails, deal with implications of the reduced certainty of location (i.e. harder to use as evidence) or to move to another technology.

It will certainly lead to the prisoner's virtual boundary being made 90 metres wider which will make it a lot easier for a criminal to disassociate him- or herself with a crime.

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