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Cellular/Wireless E911 GPS stuff

My pop happens to work at a place that sells wireless phones. We got to talking about GPS (Global Positioning System) and so on. I was under the assumption that GPS was not on your wireless phone unless you specifically paid for the service.

"Not true" said pop.

Although my pop wasn't entirely sure, he believes that all new wireless phones sold in the State of Connecticut have to have GPS enabled. But don't get too excited about that. It doesn't mean that you have GPS capability if you bought a phone in the State of CT recently. I can't punch in an address and have the phone track where I'm going - that's an extra charge. The Connecticut State Police however can track my phone at any time.

"Check your phone" pop said - because I was of the belief "Nah.. can't be true". So I checked.

My LG VX3200 wireless phone (with Verizon as carrier) has a small crosshair looking icon located at the top right of the display. I never paid much attention to it. I did an icon glossary lookup on the phone by pressing Menu then Settings then Phone Info then Icon Glossary. That crosshair icon stands for "E911 Only".

What this means is that in case of an emergency, when you dial 911 the Connecticut State Police can pinpoint exactly where you are from your wireless phone signal. That's the positive side.

Here's the negative side: It also means you can be tracked. That I do not like at all. I mean sure, "E911 Only" is supposed to mean "Emergency 911 Only", but is it really? What assurance do I have that I'm not being tracked for some other purpose?

There is no way to turn E911 off. And before anyone asks "Why would you want to turn it off?", here's why: I don't like the fact that someone can track me without my knowledge. That GPS signal means it's possible for that to happen. It screams "Big Bother is Watching You" in volumes. I should be allowed the option of whether I want it enabled or not. But alas, I do not have the option. It's on whether I want it to be or not.

Tidbit of info: Older wireless/cellular phones do not have GPS enabled.

Another important tidbit of info: If you purchase any new phone (say from eBay) and it does not have GPS enabled - there's a good chance you can't register the phone for service in the State of Connecticut. Bummer.


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