The invention relates to a system that enables power to be selectively applied to GPS circuitry in a cellular telephone or other mobile device only when a specific user input is detected. In one embodiment, power to the GPS circuitry may be enabled only when the user strikes the keys “9-1-l.” In other embodiments, other types of GPS enablement or disablement may be employed, such as selectively decoupling the GPS antenna. In another embodiment, the user may depress a privacy bypass button, which alternately enables and disables power to the GPS circuitry. Cellular telephones or other communication devices may therefore activate GPS location service during an emergency call, or when a user wishes to allow their location to be determined, but protect the privacy of that user's location and movement at other times.
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1. A method for enabling operation of GPS circuitry in a mobile wireless device, the method comprising:
- disabling the GPS circuitry via a GPS enabling block of the mobile wireless device responsive to a user selection to disable the GPS circuitry, wherein disabling includes removing power from the GPS circuitry, and wherein the mobile wireless device otherwise remains operational, the disabling performed responsive to a user input to disable the GPS circuitry to prevent sending location data without consent of a user of the mobile wireless device;
- detecting, via detect/control circuitry disposed in the mobile wireless device, an input at a keypad of the mobile wireless device from a user of the mobile wireless device, the input representing an emergency call; and
- enabling the GPS circuitry despite prior disablement of the GPS circuitry by the GPS enabling block, by providing power to the GPS circuitry in spite of the user selection, performed by the detect/control circuitry, and performed upon detection of the input representing the emergency call.
2. The method of claim 1, wherein the step of detecting an input at a keypad of the mobile wireless device comprises detecting at least a predetermined sequence of key strokes representing an emergency call number and wherein the first key strokes of the predetermined sequence of key strokes comprise the key strokes “9-1-1.”
3. The method of claim 1, wherein the mobile wireless device comprises a cellular telephone.
4. The method of claim 3, wherein the cellular telephone comprises an embedded GPS receiver.
5. A method for operating a mobile wireless device that includes GPS circuitry to determine location data associated with a location of the mobile wireless device and a user interface to accept one or more inputs from a user of the mobile wireless device, the method comprising:
- disabling the GPS circuitry responsive to a first user input, while otherwise maintaining operability of the mobile wireless device, so as to prevent wireless communication of location data determined by the GPS circuitry from the mobile wireless device without subsequent consent to communication of the location data by the user of the mobile wireless device;
- detecting at least a second user input representing an emergency call, but not consent to communication of the location data;
- automatically enabling the GPS circuitry responsive to detecting the at least a second user input despite prior disablement of the GPS circuitry; and
- after automatically enabling the GPS circuitry, wirelessly communicating the location data despite a lack of consent from the user of the mobile wireless device.
6. The method of claim 5, wherein the user interface is a keypad and the at least a second user input includes entry of an emergency call number into the keypad.
7. The method of claim 6, wherein the emergency call number is 911.
8. A mobile wireless device comprising:
- a user interface operable to receive one or more inputs from a user of the mobile wireless device;
- GPS circuitry operable, when enabled, to determine location data associated with a location of the mobile wireless device;
- a GPS enabling block coupled to the user interface and operable to selectively enable or disable the GPS circuitry, the GPS enabling block disabling the GPS circuitry responsive to a first user input so as to prevent wireless communication of location data determined by the GPS circuitry without subsequent user consent to communication of the location data;
- detect/control circuitry coupled to the GPS circuitry and the user interface, the detect/control circuitry enabling the GPS circuitry, despite prior disablement of the GPS circuit, by the GPS enabling block, responsive to detecting at least a second user input representing an emergency call, but not consent to communication of the location data; and
- radio circuitry coupled to the detect/control circuitry and the GPS circuitry, the radio circuitry wirelessly communicating at least the location data despite a lack of consent to communication of the location data by the user.