GPS Tracking Legal Info
Everything You Need To Know About GPS Laws!
GPS tracking devices are tools that have legitimate business and consumer applications for anyone looking to track a vehicle or asset. From the business purpose perspective, a company can utilize tracking devices to make sure drivers are operating business vehicles responsibly and safe driving practices are being adhered to regardless of employee’s locations. From the consumer perspective, GPS tracking devices can be used to observe a teen driver or catch a cheating spouse. Hidden GPS tracker devices are 100% legal to purchase, but the installation of the tracking device to a vehicle is where things can border on the line between legal and illegal. Let’s take a closer look at federal laws regarding electronic surveillance, as well as the penal code in each state to learn more about how to legally use a GPS device!
First of all, you can legally track a vehicle if:
- The vehicle or asset is owned by you or your business
- You are the legal guardian or parent of the teen driver
- Your wife or husband might be cheating and you both of rights to the vehicle
- The vehicle is owned or leased by your car lot and GPS tracker would be used for repo (default)
However, it could be illegal to use a GPS tracker if:
- You go inside the vehicle and are not the registered owner of that vehicle
- You want to track a cheating boyfriend or girlfriend
- Track Any Vehicle Or Asset In Real Time
- Find Out If Your Partner Is Cheating
- Discover The Truth Right From Your Cell Phone
SpaceHawk is a live GPS tracker that is legal to purchase in all 50 states that will allow you to find out the truth. Designed with a waterproof housing and an ultra-powerful magnet mount, this mini GPS can be hidden inside a car or secretly equipped underneath a vehicle, allowing you to get real time answers right to your cell phone about driving activity. If you want to know the location or movement of a rebellious teen, problem employee, or cheating partner, then learn why this electronic tracking device is the top-selling hidden GPS tracker on the market.
THE EASIEST WAY TO DISCOVER THE TRUTH
Is It Legal To Equip A GPS Tracker In Your Car? In All 50 States?
Generally speaking, the federal laws (or more appropriately guidelines) have some language that seems fairly clear and applies to all 50 states. The language in the GPS tracking laws in each state varies some but the general rule of thumb is:
- It is legal to track a minor who is driving your vehicle without acquiring consent from the teen driver.
- You can legally put a GPS tracker in a vehicle you own yourself.
- You can legally equip a GPS device in your fleet vehicle driven by an employee (although some states require driver consent)
Related Content: What Do Car Trackers Look Like
GPS Vehicle Tracking Laws State By State
In most states, a private investigator has more flexibility when it comes to cyber-security applications such as tracking cell phones, employing a hidden camera, or using a device that tracks the location of a vehicle. So if you are worried you might be doing something illegal by tracking employees or not using a GPS tracker for a legitimate business purpose then the best practice is to speak with a licensed private investigator so no labor laws or privacy laws are violated. If you want to use a real time GPS tracker on a minor child or teenage driver you are legal to do so without consent. If you want to use a vehicle tracking system to bust a cheating partner then it could matter if the automobile is owned or leased by you. In the same way, if you plan on secretly tracking a vehicle the way you place the tracker on the car can determine if it matters an owner consents. Unforautnely, there are many shades of gray when it comes to electronic devices or tracking applications so it is best to use the directory below to discover the relevant GPS tracking laws in your area of intended use.
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
- Washington State
The unlawful installation of tracking software or hardware can be illegal in some states so if you are a private citizen interested in using an electronic tracking system to spy on a vehicle please contact a law firm in your area or a criminal defense attorney in your area of intended use to get the most accurate information regarding devices to track a vehicle. Information in this article is not legal advice, and before you engage in any tracking applications it is best to with an expert in criminal law and unlawful installation of personal vehicle trackers.
Supreme Court Ruling On GPS Tracking Devices
The United States v. Antoine Jones (No. 10-1259)
In a landmark case regarding law enforcement’s use of vehicle trackers, the Supreme Court ruled on January 23, 2012, by unanimous decision, police agencies must first obtain a search warrant before the installation of tracking device technology. In the historic case surrounding GPS laws, Jones’ criminal defense lawyer argued his client’s fourth amendment rights were violated when police used an electronic tracking device to monitor the location or movement of his vehicle 24/7.
The case began when the Federal Bureau of Investigation alongside Columbus, Ohio police placed a hidden GPS device on Antoine Jones’ automobile. The joint task forces used the tracking device for 28 days to track his personal vehicle and gather location information to show the suspect was involved in illegal drug activities. The evidence gathered via electronic surveillance proved law enforcement was correct in their investigation that Jones’ was engaged in illegal activity and lower courts alongside the state court of appeals ruled that law enforcement was fair in using a tracking system even though they did not first acquire a search warrant.
The Supreme Court was expected to decide whether or not the law enforcement violated Jones’s Fourth Amendment rights when they equipped a mini tracker to his motor vehicle with the lack of a valid search warrant and most definitely without his consent. Justice Antonin Scalia stated that the government GPS used to monitor Jones’ vehicle constituted a “search,” and therefore a valid search warrant should be required given the vehicle owner did not provide consent. The evidence obtained by law enforcement was thereby inadmissible given the owner or lessee of the vehicle did not provide consent resulting in the overturning of Jones’s conviction.
Information in this article is not considered legal advice! GPS laws are subject to change and it is your responsibility to speak with a legal professional or licensed attorney to get the latest information on tracking laws before using any electronic surveillance device.
Matthew is a freelance writer who is passionate about technology, music, photography, and decentralized finance.