(April Fools Alert) – At a joint press conference today at Schriever Air Force Base, the United States Coast Guard announced a new feature to the GPS system they will start rolling out as early as January of 2018.
The “new” feature announced is referred to as “Selective Availability” and promises to improve GPS accuracy by “a factor of negative 200%” according to a press release issued by the USCG’s Office of Research and Development (RDT&E).
Those familiar with the history of GPS will remember that “selective availability” (SA) was a feature of early GPS systems which added intentional, time varying errors of up to 100 meters (328 ft) to the publicly available navigation signals. This was intended to deny an enemy the use of civilian GPS receivers for precision weapon guidance.
“The increase in terror activities around the globe have caused us to re-evaluate the GPS system. Said Captain Brian Winters, head of RDT&E. “We were mandated by the White House in April to develop a system to thwart the use of America’s GPS systems by terrorists and enemies of the state”.
Selective Availability was turned off by a mandate from President Clinton in May 2, 2000. Todays announcement did not explain why an old system of encryption – was reactivated rather than developing a new, more secure, system like eLoran but the answer likely lies in the large cuts to the USCG budget announced by the White House earlier this year.
A statement from the White House confirms the news. “The President thanks the USCG and Air Force for developing a system that will make America stronger with ZERO cost to the tax payer. This is Win-Win!”
Inside sources tell gCaptain that after SA is reactivated the USCG will be allowed to sell the Selective Availability decryption key to civilians at a moderate price of $9.99 per month. The USCG did not specify if that price was per device or if it will allow users to activate multiple devices on one account.
“We realize that 328 ft accuracy will invalidate many of the GPS features people rely on for use in their iPhones and Andriod devices which is why the White House is asking that we offer SA decryption keys for sale to the public.” said Winters. “The SA decryption keys will be sold by the same vendors that currently handle Transportation Workers Identification Cards (TWIC) card applications. This is a plug and play solution. People who want to purchase SA decription keys will simply have to visit their local TWIC center, be fingerprinted and apply for the special key that will decrypt the SA signal. Those fingerprints will allow any mobile phone with a built in scanner to decrypt the key and receive GPS signals within a 4 meter RMS (7.8 meter 95% Confidence Interval) horizontal accuracy.”
In a series of tweets today President Trump wrote:
“We built GPS for 3.6 trillion $$ and we are giving it away for free. Crazy!!”
“We are going to have an unbelievable, perhaps record-setting turnout for these encryption keys. People from around the world will love them. It is an exciting time for our country!”
“This SA Plan is brilliant! It will pay for the entire Mexico Wall AND will allow us to start work on my next BIG project… a Canada Wall!”
Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services, responded to the presidents tweet with this remark “Thats ok, our phones work just fine with the European Union’s Galileo positioning system.”
UPDATE: Just to make this 100% clear (since we have received many emails asking for clarity) this article is an April Fools day joke. Selective availability is not scheduled to be reinstated and we know of no White House plans to build a wall across Canada.