Woman Sneaks Into Police Station, Plants GPS Trackers on Cars, Helps Trucks Avoid Checks

Police cars "hacked" with GPS tracker 9 photos
Photo: MOI
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Waze is a fantastic app that lets drivers stay in the know about what happens on the road, but the app has always been the subject of major controversy due to its police reporting engine. Drivers can flag speed traps on the map, letting others know where they could be fined for going over the limit.
A woman in China found a more effective way to help the truck drivers employed by her freight company avoid getting tickets and roadside inspections: monitor the location of police cars without the need for crowdsourcing.

The woman, who owns a company in Xiangyang, Hubei, came up with a risky plan that worked until one of the "hacked" cars went in for a routine inspection.

The mechanic discovered a GPS tracking device planted on the patrol car, so he alerted the officers, who in their turn told their superiors at the police station. After further checks, they discovered GPS trackers on six more police vehicles.

It didn't take long for the investigation to reveal what happened. The freight company owner sneaked into the police station late at night and installed GPS trackers on as many police cars as she could spot. She eventually planted six trackers, using a mobile app to connect to the GPS devices and determine the location of the cars in real time.

She communicated the coordinates to truck drivers working at her company so they could avoid the inspections.

The GPS trackers were purchased online in June, so it's believed the woman's plan worked without anyone noticing the GPS trackers for almost half a year.

You'd think that breaking into a police station, hacking the police cars, and monitoring their location to avoid inspections are serious offenses, but the woman escaped with only eight days in prison and a $70 fine. It's unclear how many fines she sidestepped with the GPS-powered plan, but considering the GPS trackers have been running for so many months, you can assume the number is significant.

Meanwhile, there's nothing wrong with installing a GPS tracker on your own car. Police in the United States even recommend car owners buy such hardware, be it a traditional GPS tracking device or an AirTag, as rapidly obtaining the vehicle's location could help if it gets stolen.

AirTags are pill-shaped devices that work by connecting to nearby iPhones and communicating their locations in the Find My app. Compared to a traditional GPS tracker, the AirTag does not include GPS and uses Bluetooth to connect to an iPhone in proximity. It uses the phone's Internet connection to share its location. The device runs on a CR2032 battery, so it doesn't need recharging, with each battery offering approximately six months of autonomy per unit.
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About the author: Bogdan Popa
Bogdan Popa profile photo

Bogdan keeps an eye on how technology is taking over the car world. His long-term goals are buying an 18-wheeler because he needs more space for his kid’s toys, and convincing Google and Apple that Android Auto and CarPlay deserve at least as much attention as their phones.
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