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Is Covert GPS Vehicle Tracking Legal?

By Edited Jun 12, 2016 0 0

Many people wonder whether or not covert GPS vehicle tracking is legal. They may not want to try and track someone themselves, but maybe they fear a neighbor or stalker is going to be able to track them without their knowledge and not get in trouble for it. Or they might be a person who needs to track a person for a client of their because they are a private investigator. Still yet another possibility is that they are a police officer and want to make sure that they are in the right when they install a covert tracking device on a suspects vehicle.

Either way, there are some distinctions that we need to make if we are going to be able to help ourselves answer this question.

The first is that we need to begin to make distinctions between different types of GPS tracking. One type is corporate in nature and is where a company or fleet installed GPS in their vehicles for business purposes. This is called GPS fleet tracking and it is quickly becoming the standard in fleet maintenance and operation. This type of tracking is entirely legal as long as it is disclosed to employees. There might be some instances where it would be okay without the disclosure, but you should consult a business attorney for that information.

The next thing you should think about is what you are going to be tracking. This is an important question because it is very legal to track your own property or person. For example, you have a car that you want to install a cheap car GPS tracker for. This will help deter people from breaking in and stealing your car and also let your wife know where you are. This type of tracking is completely legal and you don't need to worry about it being illegal, even if you place your tracker in a very covert location in the vehicle. It is your car and there is nothing anyone can do about it.

What then could make covert GPS tracking illegal? Well, if you are violating the constitutional rights of another person with your tracking that will make it illegal. GPS tracking is unconstitutional when you begin violating their privacy or harassing them with your tracking. Since all covert GPS tracking is pretty much a harassment and violation of your privacy you can pretty much assume that any and all covert GPS tracking undertaken by private citizens is going to be considered illegal.

In the final analysis, covert GPS vehicle tracking is legal in some circumstances and illegal in others. Police, if they have a warrant, are pretty much always able to install secret tracking devices inside vehicles or even track a cell phone. Private citizens, on the other hand, can only employ GPS tracking for their personal property - whether it is done covertly or not.

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