The use of covet GPS vehicle tracking to conduct surveillance has increased as the technology has evolved in terms of size, range and reliability. Federal, State and local law enforcement agencies are using the technology to fight crime on a daily basis. Investigative services both private and public have used the technology to discover and prosecute sexual predators, cheating spouses, misuse of vehicles and equipment, child custody violations, embezzlement , Insurance fraud and many other vehicle location related violations.
Many civil liberty and privacy advocates have endeavored to limit the use of this technology . Legislation and court filings by these groups have sought to require search warrants prior to the use of covert GPS vehicle tracking, However a decision by the 7th Circuit of the US Court of Appeals has ruled that placing a GPS tracking device on a vehicle is lawful and does not require a search warrant, The federal government successfully argued that placing a GPS tracking device on a vehicle does not violate the 4th Amendment of the Constitution and is not an unreasonable search of the vehicle. The vehicles were not entered or physically searched. This means that all that is needed to employ a device is normal probable cause.
Many states and local governments have however enacted laws and regulations limiting the use of GPS vehicle tracking. As a general rule a private citizen may only place a device on a vehicle they own, leases or rents. Prior to employing a GPS tracking device on any other vehicle it would be wise to contact your States Attorney General Office for advice. Failure to do so could result in severe legal liabilities that may include incarceration.
New strides in technology have greatly reduced the size of GPS tracking units. Some GPS data logging devices are no larger than a pen. Even the real time tracking devices are now available in the size of a pack of cards.
The units that use older data logging technology are the cheapest and easiest tracking devices to use. In addition these units do not require any monthly fees or use of a third party to access tracking information. The downside of employing this type of tracking device is that it must be retrieved in order to access the tracking information.
Real time GPS tracking devices provide current or real time tracking information. This information is gathered by the tracking device then uploaded to a service provider using existing cell phone or satellite phone technology . The service provider then provides access to this information to its clients. Information gathered by this method unlike data logging is subject to possible compromise.
Never the less the bottom line is that the use of covert GPS vehicle tracking devices by private citizens requires a great deal of discretion and judgment. Failure to do so could lead to severe legal penalties.
Source by Jim Kesel