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GPS Tracking Laws Pennsylvania

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Is GPS Tracking Legal In Pennsylvania

GPS tracking devices are used for a variety of applications among businesses and law enforcement throughout Pennsylvania. Maybe a person in Pittsburgh has a desire to track his wife without her knowing because he believes she might be cheating. Or maybe a business in Philadelphia believes a company driver might be taking a company vehicle without authorization. Family law issues, Pennsylvania criminal cases, or any nasty custody cases are all reasons why some people begin researching wiretapping and electronic surveillance technologies. Regardless of the reasons a business or consumer might choose to put a tracking device on someone’s car in Pennsylvania, the critical question is if placing a GPS tracker on a vehicle is legal in Pennsylvania? In order to provide some clarity regarding GPS tracking laws in Pennsylvania, our GPS experts have put together this article to offer some basic information regarding if it is legal to put a GPS tracker on someone’s vehicle in Pennsylvania!

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Is It Illegal To Put a GPS Tracker On Someone’s Car In Pennsylvania?

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One of the most frequently asked questions our security experts receive is if it is illegal to put a GPS tracker on someone’s car in Pennsylvania, and the answer: yes and no. For example, if you purchase a GPS tracker and place it inside a vehicle that is not yours then yes that is a misdemeanor in the great state of Pennsylvania. However, there are many shades of grey when it comes to placing a GPS tracker on someone’s vehicle in Pennsylvania. Here are some examples:

  • You can place a GPS tracking device inside or outside of a vehicle you own.
  • Businesses can put GPS trackers on any company vehicle in Pennsylvania. However, if the employee owns that vehicle then the employer must get consent from the employee.
  • It is legal to put a GPS tracker on a vehicle you do not own as long as you a) place the tracker on the outside of a car, and b) equip the GPS tracker under the car on public property. 
  • You can not place a GPS tracking system inside a vehicle you do not own. 
  • You can not place a GPS tracker under a car you do not own if that vehicle is parked on private property.

Pennsylvania’s Constitution has nothing written in it in regards to practice management of monitoring company-owned vehicles, but the legitimate expectation (court opinions) is that if the business owns the vehicles they can legally use a mobile tracking device to monitor driving activity. 

Related Article: GPS Tracking Laws By State

Law Enforcement Use of GPS Trackers (Reasonable Suspicion)

Before setting forth the practice of equipping a portable GPS device on a suspects’ vehicle, law enforcement must first obtain a search warrant from district courts or Superior Courts. Federal laws state that in order not to infringe upon a person’s Fourth Amendment rights, any form of wiretapping and electronic surveillance must first be green-lighted in the criminal justice system by showing reasonable expectation a crime is/has occurred. 

GPS Tracking Employees Pennsylvania

Businesses thinking about using a GPS device to secretly track a car should contact an attorney in Pennsylvania (or in the area of intended use) to find out the latest news on GPS tracking laws in Pennsylvania. GPS tracking laws in Pennsylvania are constantly evolving to stay relevant with the enhances in technology so it is important that anyone considering using a vehicle tracking device has the most current information on the appropriate legal use of surveillance products. Therefore, content within this article on GPS tracking laws in Pennsylvania should not be used as legal advice

The reality is people and businesses in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Allentown, Erie, Reading, Upper Darby, Bethlehem, Bensalem,  Lancaster, Lower Merion, and cities and suburbs throughout Pennsylvania use vehicle tracking devices. Therefore, it is important to get the best legal information before investing in a personal GPS, especially if the user intends on using the device for potentially nefarious purposes. 

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