Since its introduction in 1983, GPS trackers have become an integral part of everyone’s life. With minimal investment and effort, you can keep an eye on your loved ones or valuable possessions. So people tend to rely on them to enjoy 24/7 real-time monitoring for various purposes.
But meanwhile, have you ever thought about whether GPS tracking is legal or not? Well, laws differ from one state to another. So before you start tracking anything, you should look into the details of rules and regulations associated with the respective region.
In this article, we will discuss GPS tracking laws in different states. So stay with us till the very end.
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GPS Tracking Laws? Is GPS Tracking Legal?
You can use GPS trackers for various purposes. But before you do so, you should consider its legality in your region. Let us start with a glance at when it is legal to employ GPS trackers.
If you are the owner, you can attach a GPS tracker to the vehicle and monitor its location 24/7. Still confused? Let us discuss different scenarios in the next section.
Different Situations Where It Is Legal To Use GPS Trackers
GPS trackers are an easy and convenient way of tracking your loved ones, vehicles, and assets. You can employ them for various purposes legally.
- If you are a parent, you are constantly worried about your school-going child’s safety on their way back home. Then you can use the GPS tracker for kids to ensure that they come back home directly without roaming here and there.
- Your teenage child has just started driving, and you are worried about their safety. Don’t worry! You can use a GPS tracker to monitor their activity. On top of that, you can also keep an eye on the vehicle’s speed.
- Do you know what can ruin your well-planned vacation? A lost suitcase. Secure your backpack with the help of a real-time GPS tracker.
- Are you suspicious of your spouse for infidelity? You can plant a GPS tracker for cheating spouses on the vehicle to keep an eye on them. But remember, you should be the legal owner of the car they are driving. Otherwise, consult with a private investigator or law enforcement.
- Are you worried about your assets on-site? Well, when you rent them, you can only trust your client for their safety.
Say goodbye to all your worries with a real-time GPS tracker and stay 24/7 updated with their whereabouts.
- Do you want to cut down unnecessary fuel consumption in your fleet or organization? Use a GPS tracker to track different cars and trucks on a single dashboard. In this way, you can restrict vehicle idling, reckless driving behavior, and unauthorized usage.
- If you are a private investigator and wondering if you can use a GPS tracker to collect evidence for your client?
- Law enforcement can use GPS trackers to collect evidence and track wanted criminals.
Laws Related To GPS Tracker In Different States of America
There is no such rigid law in the US about GPS trackers. You can find several mentions about them in different statutes of the states.
Let us discuss them one by one:
According to section 13A-11-32, if a person intentionally engages in surveillance along with trespassing in a private place, they will be charged with ‘criminal surveillance.’
In Alaska, if someone is from installing a device to observe, record, or photograph events occurring in someone’s residence, vehicle, or workplace without the consent. Moreover, they are beyond the scope of the authorization of that person. Then it will be considered as stalking in the second degree.
If a person uses any digital electronics or GPS devices to perform surveillance over a specific person without authorization and continuously for 12 hours, they are considered a stalker.
A person who is not a registered owner, lessor, or lessee of the said vehicle can not use any GPS tracking device to determine a person’s location. However, a law enforcement agency can use an electronic power steering device for lawful purposes.
According to Bonnie’s law, if a person keeps another person in surveillance with the help of electronic surveillance to know the person’s whereabouts and share the information with the stalker either simultaneously or shortly after will be charged for stalking.
A person is charged for electronics stalking if that person is causing another person fear for their physical safety by the repetitive use of a GPS.
A person is found guilty of privacy violation under class A misdemeanor and class G if a person installs an electronic tracking device on a motor vehicle without the consent of the registered owner, lessor, or lessee. Some exemptions to this law are law enforcement officers for lawful tracking or a parent or legal guardian.
District of Columbia
It is illegal for a person to use a GPS device to locate another person without consent.
A person will have to pay a fine for installing a tracking device on another person’s vehicle without their consent. However, there are several exceptions to the law.
A person is found guilty of stalking if found stalking another person with a GPS tracker with the intent of harassing, annoying or alarming another person.
Interception or disclosure of any tracking device is prohibited.
A person cannot use an electronic tracking device to determine the location of the moment of any person.
IC 35-33-5 allows a person to use an electronic tracking device to determine the position of another person or object with legal purpose.
In Iowa, it is illegal for someone places a GPS device to track someone without their consent.
According to chapter 456, ” civil orders of protection device,” a GPS device system is worn by the person to determine their location given that it does not invade their bodily integrity.
Senate bill number 123 defines GPS as an electronic device worn by the individual to transmit latitude and longitude. But it should not invade or violate the integrity of a person.
According to the law, stalking is a curse of action where a person directly or indirectly follows, surveils, or observes a person without consent to the extent that they start feeling uneasy for their safety.
If any person uses any electronic communication device to track or threaten anyone, they can face imprisonment for more than five years and a $1,000 penalty.
A person who places a tracking device on someone else’s vehicle without permission will be considered a stalker. And they will face one-year imprisonment and a fine of $1,000.
It is unlawful for a person to use an electronic device such as a tracking device to track someone else without permission.
Mississippi code defines stalking as an event where someone uses an electronic tracking device to track another person, given that they start to feel uneasy.
Stalking is an offense where someone causes distress to another person by using any electronic communication device such as GPS.
A court can issue a warrant against a person for installing a tracking device.
Nevada revised statute 179.451 permits the use of a tracking device to track the movement of a person or object.
According to Hampshire laws, it is illegal for any government entity to place an electronic tracking device to service the information of a private citizen without a warrant issued by the court.
According to New Jersey revised statutes title 2A, a law enforcement agency can use electronic devices to track a possible criminal’s location. But they should have a lawful purpose for it.
According to New Mexico statutes, a person is a stalker if they use an electronic tracking device to follow a person without lawful authority to harm them.
In New York, it is unlawful to use an electronic tracking device to determine the location without any authorization.
It is unlawful for a person to use an electronic tracking device without the consent of another person.
In North Dakota, stalking is considered an unauthorized tracking of a person’s location to the extent that they start feeling frightened or intimidated.
In Ohio, it is illegal to install a tracking device to monitor someone without their consent.
No one can use a GPS tracker to track someone unless they have a warrant issued by the court.
According to the law of Pennsylvania, if someone wants to use a GPS tracker, they should have a receipt of a written form from an investigator or law enforcement agency.
It is an offense to install, hide, or place a GPS tracking device onto someone else’s vehicle without their consent.
A person shall be punished under section 17-30-50 if found using a GPS tracker to monitor someone.
One can only install a GPS device with a warrant issued by a magistrate.
It is an offense to install, hide or place an electronic tracking device on a motor vehicle without the permission of its owner.
In Texas, it is unlawful for someone to install a GPS tracker on a motor vehicle, given that they are not the owner or lesser.
In Utah, it is legal for someone to use an electronic tracking device to track someone with a lawful purpose.
A person will be subjected to a penalty if found using a GPS device to track someone without their consent.
It is legal for a person to use a GPS device to track someone for a lawful reason.
It is unlawful for any person to use an electronic GPS device to track someone without consent.
Stalking is a course of conduct where someone uses a GPS tracker to monitor someone without their consent.
It is unlawful for any person to use an electronic GPS device to track someone without consent.
Disputes Regarding Misuse of Trackers
Elgin VS Coca-Cola Bottling Co. 2005
In the case of 2005, an employee sued the employer for tracking them after work hours. The court ruled the decision in favor of the employer. Why? Because the employer’s organization owned the vehicle.
Tubbs VS Wynn Transport 2007
A similar case was brought to court by an employee. According to him, the employer was tracking the company-owned vehicle driven by him without his consent. The court again took the employer’s side for the same reason.
United States VS Jones 2011
An unusual case was brought in the court against the police for using a GPS tracker on the vehicle owned by a suspected drug trafficker. The rulings were against the law enforcement agency. Why? As the act was a violation of the fourth amendment of human rights.
Cunningham VS New York Department of Labour 2013
An employee sued his employer for tracking his vehicle after working hours without his consent.
Surprisingly the court ruled in the employer’s favor. Why? As the records clearly show that the employee was taking his work hours.
United States VS Katzin 2013
A case was brought in the court against the police for placing a GPS tracker on a suspect. The court ruled in favor of the Katzin brothers. Why? As it was considered a violation of the fourth amendment.
As you can see from the above explanations, there is no clear law about the usage of GPS trackers. However, there are restrictions on its use from state to state.
But there are some exemptions to such restrictions.
- You have authority over the person, or
- You are the owner of the vehicle, or
- You have the warrant issued by the court.
If any of the above is true for you, you can legally use a GPS tracker. Moreover, if you want a GPS tracker for your asset or vehicle, you don’t have to worry about such laws. Choose a reliable GPS tracker to enjoy peace of mind.
Family1st offers a portable GPS tracker that you can use for several purposes. It is an affordable solution with multiple features. For more information, visit the website now.
Do you have any queries? Don’t hesitate to write it down in the comment section below. We will be glad to resolve them.