Dr. Humphreys Presents at TEDxAustin, February 2012

Austin, TX — What’s the predictable endpoint of the trend toward ever cheaper, ever smaller, and ever more sensitive GPS?  It’s the GPS dot: a GPS tracking device first featured in the movie “The Da Vinci code” and now moving inexorably from fiction to non-fiction.  The GPS dot will fundamentally re-order our lives.  We’ll buy dots in bulk and stick them on everything we own worth more than a few tens of dollars.

But there is a dark side to the dot.  Did you know that it’s not illegal to track your family, your friends, or even your ex-girlfriend/boyfriend with a GPS dot?  The lack of effective legal means of protecting ourselves from an invasion of GPS dots will lead to use of subversive tools for protecting our personal space, such as GPS jammers and spoofers.  A rise in the use of these illicit tools has the potential to wreak havoc on the “good” GPS receivers — those built into our critical systems and infrastructure. The result: A looming showdown between privacy and GPS integrity.

What if you could use GPS technology to find your misplaced keys? How about if you could use that same technology to lie about where you were in the world or misdirect cruise ships? Dr. Todd Humphreys of the University of Texas at Austin’s Radionavigation Lab paints a picture of an utterly new future at once worrying and fascinating.Check out the following TEDxAustin coverage: