With all the good that technology has given us, in the wrong hands, it can also be very bad. This is just one reason why GPS tracking laws by state have begun to garner attention. Privacy is no longer something we can take for granted. Drones, hackers, and GPS tracking devices are just a few examples of how technology can be used in the most invasive ways.
At the onset, mobile tracking systems like GPS were all the rave. PIs, law enforcement officials, and others were finding creative and innovative uses for these technologies. Today, the availability of these types of devices has made them accessible to everyone - and that isn't always a good thing.
When put to good use, parents can help keep their children safer. Caregivers can keep better watch over the elderly or sick. In the wrong hands, there are countless scenarios where these systems and devices can become nefarious tools.
Growing Concerns Spark Action
The National Conference of State Legislators (NCSL) recently reported on this very subject. What the good news is, is that states are beginning to take action to thwart ill-intended users of GPS and other tracking systems.
To date, according to the NCSL report, 23 states have taken action to address these concerns. The breakdown looks like this:
Eight States Take the Lead
Alaska, Arizona, Connecticut, Illinois, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, and Oklahoma have set up strict guidelines prohibiting unlawful use of GPS devices. Those found guilty of using tracking devices will now fall under the legal category of "stalking."
Nine Other States Follow Suit
Another nine states, Delaware, Illinois, Michigan, Oregon, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Wisconsin, have also taken legal steps. Today, the use of tracking devices, e.g. installing a tracking device on a motor vehicle without the owner's consent, is a crime.
Six Other States Join In
Along with the aforementioned states, California, Florida, Hawaii, Louisiana, Minnesota, New Hampshire and Virginia have also taken measures. The laws for these states are even more broad in scope and signify a change in culture, and in the law.
Yes, GPS and other tracking systems are great tools. Unfortunately, those tools now need to be safeguarded. It appears the message is out and states from around the country are taking action. That is very good news for those of us who use and benefit from GPS devices, and very bad news for those who have bad intentions.