Feeds

Royal Navy halts Highlands GPS jamming

Exercises knocked furious fishermen off course

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

Following complaints from local fishermen, the Royal Navy has suspended satnav signal jamming during its ongoing Joint Warrior naval exercises, despite making every attempt to let people know.

Locals around the Western Isles say the jamming of GPS has disrupted their lives, and put the safety (and profitability) of fishermen at risk – not to mention being prime suspect in dodgy mobile coverage and internet access. And they've said it loud enough for the Royal Navy to stop all the jamming during this round of exercises, as the BBC reports.

The military regularly jams GPS signals: there's even a mailing list to which one can subscribe to get notifications, and in general this isn't a problem. Jamming GPS is technically quite easy to do, even accidentally, so one has to assume combatants won't hesitate and our troops need to be able to cope, which is why the signal is regularly disrupted during exercises.

Notifications are sent out to the aforementioned mailing list, as well as being posed on the Scottish government website and broadcast by local coastguards (Aberdeen and Stornoway in this instance) on VHF bands. In this instance a guide was provided, complete with maps showing where one should expect GPS to drop out:

Map showing jammed locations

But that wasn't enough for the skipper of the Ocean Spirit, who told the BBC: "We weren't notified about it at all ... We are losing earnings over it until the exercise finishes. It is putting boats at risk."

The Western Isle authority then chimed in with claims that safety had been compromised and that "distress signals for mariners are effectively silenced because of the GPS jamming" – which is an interesting take, as distress signals have their own frequency well outside the GPS band.

But the authority isn't stopping there: apparently internet access and mobile coverage has also been disrupted by the naval force's actions. It's quite possible that connectivity in the isles isn't as great one might expect, but that's probably down to the location than any high-tech jamming that might be going on.

The Royal Navy points out that they do this every six months, and that no one complained in April, but it has agreed to suspend jamming during this round of exercises and work out a better way of alerting people next year. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Whitepapers

10 ways wire data helps conquer IT complexity
IT teams can automatically detect problems across the IT environment, spot data theft, select unique pieces of transaction payloads to send to a data source, and more.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
How to determine if cloud backup is right for your servers
Two key factors, technical feasibility and TCO economics, that backup and IT operations managers should consider when assessing cloud backup.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence
Download Choosing a Cloud Hosting Provider with Confidence to learn more about cloud computing - the new opportunities and new security challenges.