The FBI shut down 3,000 GPS-based devices this week in a response to a court case ruling decided on Jan 23.

The U.S. Department of Justice is now dispatching officials to remove the devices, which were not authorized by warrant to be attached to vehicles.

In United States vs. Jones, the FBI stuck a tracking device under a car owned by Antoine Jones — a nightclub owner and operator — living in Maryland.

Officials started using visual and GPS surveillance after suspecting him of trafficking narcotics, according to Supreme Court documents.

Local officers physically watched over the nightclub, installed a camera outside of the building, wiretapped his cellular phone and attached a GPS device to his Jeep Grand Cherokee. A warrant was issued for the installation of the GPS device within the District of Columbia within 10 days.

However, the GPS was installed on the 11th day and outside the District of Columbia. Over a 28-day period, Jones’ vehicle was tracked.

Watch the video above to see how this decision affects you and what the FBI is doing now to revise GPS guidelines and policies.

Do you think the FBI should be allowed to track supposed criminals by using GPS technology without warrants? Let us know in the comments.

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A team of Swiss astronauts and university professors are working to create a robot spacecraft called CleanSpace One, which will grab inactive satellite parts from space and bring them back to Earth.

About 700 active satellites are in orbit around Earth, sending us weather, phone, television and GPS signals. But they are in constant danger of smashing into old inactive satellites.

“It has become essential to be aware of the existence of this debris and the risks that are run by its proliferation,” says Claude Nicollier, an astronaut and professor at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne.

A 2009 collision between American Satellite Iridium with an inactive Russian satellite caused $55 million worth of damage. The accident also left 2,000 additional pieces of debris in space.

Thousands of satellites have launched since Sputnik‘s 1957 pioneering voyage into space. Over 16,000 pieces of broken and inactive satellites have collected in orbit causing a risk of collisions.

SEE ALSO: NASA Wants To Send Astronauts To Mars Within 20 Years in New Deep Space Vehicle

Before CleanSpace One is ready for space, there are technological hurdles to overcome. One being the machine’s ability to come within range of an object in space, to be close enough to capture it. Another hurdle is developing robotic arms that can “grab” the item. After being captured, the debris will be taken by the robot spacecraft back into the Earth’s atmosphere, where both will disintegrate upon re-entry.

Although space junk has been proposed as a serious threat to NASA equipment and personnel, this is currently a university-funded project and not a full-fledged multi-million dollar development, EPFL members say.

The maiden voyage will cost about $11 million, which the EFPL space team is hoping to raise over three to five years. Considering insurance premiums for satellites already go for about $20 billion, companies may be prompted to donate to the cause so insurance premiums don’t increase if the problem gets worse.

Thumbnail image courtesy of EPFL.

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Garmin has finally created a navigation app for the iPhone, and now StreetPilot for iPhone is available in the App Store for $40. Here’s a review where we compare the iPhone version to another Garmin hardware GPS navigator, the Nuvi 1690.

I’ve been using Garmin GPS navigation since the days when the hardware cost $800, and so I was interested in seeing if Garmin could translate the excellent user interface and responsiveness of its hardware navigation units to the iPhone.

Delayed for years because of Garmin’s foray into its own smartphone hardware, the company’s done a respectable job of moving its software onto the iOS platform. A big plus with the software is its continuously updated maps, where small parts of the map software reside on the iPhone’s hard drive, but most are downloaded via the 3G network.

This can be good and bad. While the maps are the freshest available, if you stray outside AT&T’s 3G network, you might not see a map until you get closer to a 3G tower. However, in my testing in the Milwaukee metropolitan area, this wasn’t a problem at all.

Most of the features you’ll get on Garmin hardware units are there in the software, including extensive points of interest such as gas stations and restaurants, helpful lane assist capabilities, and spoken street names.

In my testing, this iPhone version offered more information, and sooner than its hardware brandmate, a Garmin Nuvi 1690. In some cases, the iPhone version was slower, but as you can see in the video below, the speed difference was slight, and didn’t matter as much as the iPhone version’s useful tendency of offering additional street names in advance.

On the left of the navigation screen, there’s a small iPod icon, and when you select it, you can pause your music, skip to the next song, and go to your iPhone’s music player to select different playlists and songs. Unfortunately, it’s not as friendly with Pandora Radio, where if you try to listen to Pandora music, as soon as the voice kicks in, Pandora is gone for good.

Some users have complained about the sound quality of the voices in the iPhone StreetPilot, but that’s been improved with the recent update, although the sound quality of the voices is still not as good as that of the hardware versions. This seems like it would be an easy thing to fix, but in my testing, the voices were still clearly audible. You can hear the difference in the video below.

Overall, Garmin has done an admirable job of bringing its elegant user interface to the iPhone. The software’s $40 price is reasonable, especially since it includes live updates of road conditions and the freshest possible maps. However, given the unpredictability of AT&T’s network, taking a long trip with its constantly updating maps might be a problem if you’re traveling through sparsely populated areas. In addition, I’d like to see better integration with Pandora, and higher-quality voices.

To get an idea of Garmin StreetPilot for iPhone’s performance, take a look at this video where you can see which device won my informal and unscientific competition, and then don’t miss the gallery where I’ve made additional comments and observations.

Garmin StreetPilot for iPhone

Here’s the main screen, and it looks a lot like the hardware Garmin.

Garmin StreetPilot for iPhone

the map presents in 3-D, notice the iPod icon on the left.

Garmin StreetPilot for iPhone

Tap that icon, and audio transport controls appear.

Garmin StreetPilot for iPhone

You can navigate through spaghetti bowl of roads with ease.

[This graphic courtesy Garmin]

Garmin StreetPilot for iPhone

The Lane Assist feature is particularly useful.

[This graphic courtesy Garmin]

Garmin StreetPilot for iPhone

This is the screen you get if there are no traffic problems in the area.

Garmin StreetPilot for iPhone

Here’s the list view.

Garmin StreetPilot for iPhone

There are plenty of points of interest to which you can navigate.

Garmin StreetPilot for iPhone

There are even more points of interest.

Garmin StreetPilot for iPhone

Here, I’m looking for the nearest gas station.

Garmin StreetPilot for iPhone

There’s a handy weather forecast available.

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