On May 2nd 2019, Somaliland’s Ministry of Transportation unveiled a pilot project to install real-time tracking device on government fleet to ensure their use is lawful and is for official purposes only.

Courtesy: Somaliland MOT

According to a statement from the Ministry of Transportation, the tracking device is intended to bring accountability in how government vehicles are utilized.

Minister of Transportation and staff unavailing the pilot tracker program.

From available photos, the Ministry is deploying either a TK102 or TK103 GPS tracker, a Chinese made low end AVL product that costs around 30 US dollars. 

Interacting and offloading data from the device is achieved via GPRS cellular network and some models of TK103 have additional options such as preventing vehicle from starting a panic button in case of an emergency and the ability to detect a collision.

TK103 is part a simple tracker class known as automated vehicle locator and it is basically a cellular phone. A call its assigned number will cause it to send a text message reply of its precise coordination of its current location, the speed of the object and other information.

Configuration of TK103 GPS tracker.

The device the Ministry of Transportation has chosen are for applications where security is not a critical factor and a location of an asset being tracked has little to no value to anyone other than the owner.

It is unclear if the Ministry of Transportation considered the potential risk of this platform or has put additional controls in place to ensure the safety of this sensitive information.

With this class of device, where no additional encryption is used aside from GPRS, the risk of sensitive information that pinpoints the precise location and movement of all government vehicles being intercepted by unauthorized parties is simple, especially for a state actor.

Somaliland Chronicle will not discuss the nature of the vulnerability due to its national security implication.