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Sprint GPS Glitch Making Poor Guy's Life Hell


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Sprint GPS Glitch Making Poor Guy's Life Hell

Everyone Thinks He Stole Their Phone -- Including Police


A Sprint network glitch is incorrectly directing users to the home of Wayne Dobson in North Las Vegas. According to the Las Vegas Review Journal, an unexplained location and GPS data glitch is sending victims of cellphone and tablet theft -- and the police looking for them -- to this poor guy's home at all hours of the day and night.


The problem only appears to be plaguing owners of Sprint phones, who Dobson says he's had no limit of unpleasant run ins with as he has to repeatedly explain to them that he hasn't stolen their devices. As you might expect, the quality of his sleep isn't the greatest:


The problem appears to be limited to some owners of Sprint phones. Company officials said they are researching the problem, which has forced Dobson to sleep near his front door on weekends so he can answer the door quickly at all hours. "It's a hell of a problem," he said. "It would be nice to be able to get a good night's sleep."Sprint insists they're researching the problem

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Wow… poor guy. This is probably made worse for him by the fact that he doesn’t sound particularly technically-inclined, so his ability to try to explain what’s going on to people who are already angry is limited. The fact that they’re mad and so sure that they’ve got hard evidence can really make for a dangerous situation.


What I want to know is whether whatever tracking service these victims are using show how accurate the reported location of their stolen phone is. For example, on Google Maps, if you don’t have your GPS on, it shows your location with an error circle which is based off of the surrounding towers. I can imagine this error circle being completely ignored by some (or even just missing in the tracking software) which leads the victims to go right to the center point. If some amount of error is displayed by the tracking software, then his nearest neighbor must be hundreds of feet away.


I wonder just how well the locations all of these victims’ phones match up. Some apps show your latitude and longitude coordinates to within several decimal places, and even with a small amount of error, two phones right next to each other might not show the exact same numbers. If it is a software glitch on Sprint’s side, I’m wondering if all of these numbers are the same, down to the last digit.

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I'm concerned for this man's safety. The wrong person thinks he stole their phone, they could attack him or shoot him. Sprint could be liable. They need to do something stat. Tomorrow is not good enough.



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Instead of answering the door, he should just put a poster explaining the issue and a no trespassing sign.


He has put up a sign. Read the linked article.


Now, I wonder if Wayne Dobson is part of the Dobson family that sold out DCOC to AT&T. If so, this could be his comeuppance.





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Okay, maybe this is just that vaunted "common sense" talking here, but, it seems like part of this is morons. Not to say that there couldn't be a serious issue here, but still. CriticalityEvent is on the money with that one - most tracking software gives you a pretty wide range of addresses when GPS is disabled or not working properly (most of the time when a phone is dead and they're going off of old info).


For the record, I just used Sprint's "The Protection App" phone locator, and after trying for three minutes, it simply came up with the name of my town. When I said "see on a map", it put me a couple doors down. My actual location was the faaar left edge of the (sizable) circle.


Edit: Ran it a second time, and it said:

Your phone has been located at:



Great, so it's somewhere in the state. Lovely.


Not only that, if your phone is in a place you do not recognize, why in God's holy name would you go there!? Calling the police should be the first step, not running up and banging on the door, or trespassing on his property! That's the definition of "not safe".

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