2012 Newark Airport GPS jamming

On 2nd August 2013, the US Federal Communication Commission (FCC) published its ‘Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture’ in the matter of Gary P Bojczak relating to the 2012 Newark Airport GPS jamming.

Source: Wikipedia

Source: Wikipedia

The incident

On 3rd August 2012, the FCC received a GPS interference report from the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The  Port Authority of New York and New Jersey had experienced interference during the testing of its ground-based augmentation system (GBAS) at Newark Liberty International Airport (Newark Airport).

GBAS is a GPS-based augmentation system designed to support aircraft precision approach, departure procedures and terminal area operations. At that point it was in its pre-deployment test phase.

The investigation

While investigating the incident on 4th August 2012, the FCC’s New York Enforcement Bureau used direction finding techniques to determine that a red Ford F-150 pickup truck was emitting the jamming signal that was blocking the reception of the GPS signals used by the GBAS.

When stopped, it was found that the driver, Gary Bojczak, was operating a personal privacy device (GPS jammer) “to block the GPS-based vehicle tracking system that his employer installed in the vehicle”.

Outcome

Gary Bojczak was fined $32,000.

Inside GNSS reported that Bojczak lost his job over the incident. It also reported that Newark Airport continues to experience about five interference events from personal privacy devices each day (Monday to Friday) from vehicles travelling on the nearby turnpike.

Comment

Using my GNSS outage segmentation scheme for this 2012 Newark Airport GPS jamming event:

  • The source was man-made.
  • The purpose was ‘intentional misguided privacy’ because his aim was to derive personal gain from blocking his employer’s tracking scheme.
  • There are two obvious subjects of collateral damage – Newark Airport and Bojczak’s employer – and probably many other others who suffered a short loss of performance from their in-car navigation systems and cell phones.

Source: US Federal Communications Commission

Image: Wikipedia

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