According to the latest ruling out of the Ninth Circuit Court, it’s perfectly legal for state, local, or federal agents to secretly plant a GPS tracking system on your car in the middle of the night, even if it’s parked in your driveway, and then use said GPS vehicle tracking system to track your movements as they see fit. BAscially the ruling says that federal agents can secretly install a GPS vehicle tracking device into your car without a warrant – and this doesn’t violate a citizen’s Fourth Amendment rights.
The ruling, which sets precedent for Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon and Washington, holds that “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures” doesn’t apply to driveways. But the Ninth Circuit doesn’t make precedent for the whole country, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia recently ruled that extended tracking via GPS requires a warrant. But, since conflicting precedent has now been set on the West Coast, this issue is bound for the Supreme Court.
In the case, DEA agents secretly planted a GPS vehicle tracking system on Juan Pineda-Moreno’s Jeep at night while it was parked outside his home, and then used it to pinpoint the illegal marijuana crop he was cultivating. Pineda-Moreno appealed the case on the grounds that the secret GPS tracking violated his Fourth Amendment rights, but a three-judge panel denied his appeal in January and a larger panel ruled this month against reconsidering the case.
GPS vehicle tracking system just launched by the Chrysler Group will likely be the company’s first step toward establishing a competitor for GM’s OnStar and Ford’s SYNC systems. The new system is a Mopar-branded Electronic Vehicle Tracking System.
Chryler’s new Electronic Vehicle Tracking System offers different levels of service. The basic plan is aimed primarily at protecting owners from vehicle theft. Using GPS fleet tracking technology from Guidepoint Systems, the Mopar device includes a GPS integrated stolen vehicle tracker that can provide real-time information on the vehicle’s location and includes a $1,000 “theft-protection” warranty from Chrysler. The good news is the basic level Electronic Vehicle Tracking Systems do not require a subscription fee. This is useful to customers who want to avoid the hassle of ongoing fees while still taking advantage of the GPS stolen vehicle tracking system capabilities.
When Interwest Construction Inc. wanted to catch the thieves that had stolen one of their trucks before they stripped it, they activated the fleet vehicle’s GPS tracking system and the chase was on. FieldLogix, an industry leading GPS vehicle tracking device and green fleet management system, was successfully utilized to recover the missing fleet vehicle in just a few hours.
According to Kristal Wagner of Interwest Construction, Inc., “We had a truck stolen on Monday during the night. Tuesday morning, when the foreman was panicking & calling the sheriff, I used the the real-time GPS tracking device to pull up the vehicle’s exact location and gave the Sheriff the information. We recovered the truck within a couple of hours. Some small items that weren’t valuable were stolen from the truck, but the vehicle was not harmed at all!”
GPS fleet tracking systems are recommended to all drivers by the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) to prevent motor vehicle theft. According to NICB, a car is stolen every 26 seconds in America. Nearly half of these are never recovered, and are commonly scrapped for parts or smuggled to another country. NICB’s vehicle protection approach recommends four layers of security based on the risk factors pertaining to a specific vehicle. Vehicle Tracking Systems are one such layer, and are described by the NICB as “very effective” in helping police recover stolen vehicles. Vehicle GPS tracking systems are an important and integrated part of the “layered approach” to protecting fleet vehicles.