FCC requires all mobile phones to be GPS-capable by 2018

By on October 5, 2011, 2:30 PM

The Federal Communications Commission has announced plans that would require all mobile phones to have GPS chips embedded in them by 2018. The goal is to improve 911 services by increasing location tracking and accuracy to better assist during an emergency.

Many smartphones already have GPS installed but a number of platform feature phones still rely on cell tower triangulation for location services, a process that isn’t as accurate as GPS. The FCC notes in the mandate that by 2018, nearly 85 percent of mobile phones would already feature GPS without the ruling. The plan also encompasses all VoIP devices as well.

Mobile Burn points out that the requirement for true GPS positioning is interesting because today’s technology takes a long time to lock onto someone’s location. Furthermore, if you are inside a building or near tall structures, the service is virtually useless. Cell tower triangulation is used in such circumstances and aids traditional GPS systems in locking in a more accurate position in less time.

Going forward in 2018, all new phones would have to adhere to the new ruling, although it wasn’t made clear when or if non-GPS equipped devices would be forced out of commission.

This new plan comes just a few months after the FCC announced a five step action plan to improve the deployment of next-generation 911 (NG911). Key to the NG911 initiative is the ability for users to send texts, photos and video streams directly to 911 operators, all of which could be very useful for first responders. No date has been set for NG911 implementation.

User Comments: 14

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1977TA said:

Big brother wants to know where we are!

Next up, we are microchip'd like dogs and cats.

RH00D RH00D said:

I'd rather live in a dangerous and free world than a safe and police-state like world.

Just saying.

SammyJames said:

Let's just not.

treeski treeski said:

I'm fine with phones all having GPS chips installed... so long as you have 100% control over whether or not they are enabled. That being said, you'll probably never have 100% control and as such, I hope this does not go through.

SammyJames said:

sammyjames said:

Let's just not.

And to make sure that anyone reading this comment doesn't get thrown by its proximity to the one before it -- here's what I MEANT:

Let's NOT let the government put GPS chips in everything. The next thing you know they'll be putting one into my @#$%! toaster. I want to be able to eat my toast, drink my coffee, and watch my SledgeHammer DVDs in peace. WITHOUT having ANYONE know that I'm doing so.

Mostly because SledgeHammer is very, very funny. And I don't want to be interrupted while I watch Season One. ESPECIALLY Season One.

You don't want to get me angry. You wouldn't like me when I'm angry.

Guest said:

Am i the only one who thinks that this is going to be used as a spy tool?

Guest said:

^ First thing than came to my mind.

aj_the_kidd said:

Guest said:

Am i the only one who thinks that this is going to be used as a spy tool?

Yes but its for your own safety...... and so will the "safety" chips, which will be implanted at birth

Guest said:

Somebody's watching you...

LinkedKube LinkedKube, TechSpot Project Baby, said:

911 my ass.

jobeard jobeard, TS Ambassador, said:

btw: Location data is also captured when taking pictures, so you create a trail of where you've been!

Like Treeski said "control over whether or not they are enabled" is the right approach and is why I'll stick with my Nokia - - I get to enable/disable easily.

MilwaukeeMike said:

If the govt wanted to follow you, they could triangulate your signal from the towers you're connected to.

Maybe I'm just cynical, but thinking the govt cares about you comes across as narcissistic to me. If they really care, you'll have an FBI agent follow you around.

What hasn't been mentioned is will a cell phone's GPS log be used in court to prove a person's location? And the answer is probably not... that's circumstantial. You'd also need a recorded phone call to prove the phone was in your possesion. So stop complaining, ok?

Guest said:

this is stupid. phones being gps compliant actually happened years ago. you can be located by your cell phone since, oh, the late 90's. UNLESS we are talking about increased SAT coverage/compliance, this is late news. years late.

Guest said:

big brother WILL be watching you.

Having said that, it would seem we'll be stuck with "old phones" (pre FCC 2018 BS) since all phones manufactured in 2018+ must be compliant; but i'm sure that by that time the phones will have everything we could think of, so the only thing we'll need to do every year is just buy a new battery and keep Big Brother at bay = win :P

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