I ran across an article the other day that made me curious. The title of the article was GPS Flaw: Security Expert Says He Won’t Fly April 6. Consequently, I went looking for anything definitive on the web in the way of information. What I found was interesting. The same article had been reproduced hundreds, maybe thousands, of times. There wasn’t anything new, however. Nor was there any kind of verification of the article’s premise.
Trust me, it’s not the first time the internet has gone wonky over a subject.
From the original article (https://www.tomsguide.com/us/gps-mini-y2k-rsa2019,news-29583.html) about April 6, 2019:
That’s the day millions of GPS receivers will literally run out of time, rolling over their time counters back to zero, thanks to limitations in timekeeping for older GPS devices. Many navigation systems may be affected, such as on ships or older aircraft, although your smartphone will be fine.
But because GPS satellites are also crucial to digital timekeeping used by websites, electrical grids, financial markets, data centers and computer networks, the effect of April 6 may be even more wide-ranging.
The problem seems to affect older GPS systems, especially those that have been in operation for 10-15 years.
Segue here: I know diddly about GPS systems. My only brush with GPS was on my phone when I was hopelessly lost trying to get Flash to the emergency vet at 2:00 AM. Thank God my phone could tell me not only where the clinic was, but where I was in relation to the clinic. In other words, I was so lost I was halfway to Dallas without a clue.
Here’s another site that spells the situation out a little better: https://www.gps-repeaters.com/blog/gps-week-number-rollover-april-6th-2019/
Bottom line, some GPS systems might start to behave a little oddly by jumping backward in time. If you have an older piece of hardware that hasn’t been upgraded, don’t be surprised if it starts to act weird after April 6th. I wonder if it will affect shipping – or commercial aircraft.