Thursday, November 4, 2010

Private GPS Tracking Can Be Stalking

A follow-up to an earlier post about a student finding an FBI GPS tracking device on his car.

A Jacksonville newspaper reports that police arrested a man a charge of stalking after he placed a GPS tracking device on his estranged wife's car. He also allegedly tampered with her Facebook account, stole her underwear, and monitored her home computer use. She became suspicious when, she said, he always seemed to know how to find her.

While private use of GPS tracking devices does not implicate the Fourth Amendment, it can constitute stalking. I prosecuted a case in 2004 in which the defendant had a GPS device placed on his estranged wife's car. He also violated a protection order, destroyed two cars, left threatening messages, and had a camera pointed at her desk at work. The irony of that case was that the defendant was required to be on GPS tracking as part of his sentence. The GPS tracking was key to proving a violation of his probation and resulted in a prison sentence.


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