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GPS Tracking: How The Police Use It

Apr 19, 2008
The GPS tracking system is a marvelous invention. People are finding more and more ways to use this state of the art technology. It is saving money and, arguably, lives. Used by individuals, small businesses, huge companies, and fleet owners, GPS tracking devices have also been employed by law enforcement agents to track the whereabouts of suspects, although the legality of the latter has been questioned in court.

While it has been argued that such use by law enforcement agencies is a violation of the 4th amendment prohibiting unlawful search and seizure, that argument has been struck down in court. At least one judge has argued that attaching a GPS device to the vehicle of someone they have reason to suspect is engaged in criminal is tantamount to following the suspect. No warrant is needed.

According to one lawyer whose area of interest is cyber crime, as long as the tracking device is installed on a "public" part of the vehicle, such as on the bumper or underneath, there is no violation of the 4th amendment. GPS tracking and its uses by the police continue to be a tricky subject, however.

What is not dubious is the benefit derived by business owners who use GPS devices to monitor their drivers. Speed can be monitored so safety increases. Stop time is calculated and headings are recorded. Therefore, drivers waste less time; overtime is reduced; more stops are made daily; and fleet cars assigned to employees are not used for personal errands. GPS tracking records are also nifty tools in billing disputes! Needless to say, the devices are very useful in tracking stolen vehicles. In fact, some states now mandate that insurance companies offer a break to customers whose vehicles have tracking devices.

Vehicles bearing real time GPS tracking devices can be located from any computer or other device capable of accessing the internet. The uses of these devices are numerous. Whether you are in business, law enforcement, or even the parent of a teen with a brand new driver's license, the benefits are quickly apparent.
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