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NJ Judge Rules GPS Tracking of Spouse Legal 241

Posted by Soulskill
from the liberty-and-prosperity-but-not-privacy dept.
Endoflow2010 writes "The use of a GPS device to track your whereabouts is not an invasion of privacy in New Jersey, a state appellate court panel ruled today. Based on the battle of a divorcing Gloucester County couple, the decision helps clarify the rules governing a technology increasingly employed by suspicious spouses — many of whom hire private investigators. No state law governs the use of GPS tracking devices, and the ruling, which does not affect police officers, is the first to address the issue, said Jimmie Mesis, past president of the New Jersey Licensed Private Investigators Association. 'We only use it when we are sure we have the appropriate conditions,' [private investigator Lisa Reed] said, noting that investigators make sure GPS devices are installed in cars on public streets and not private areas, and that the spouse must have some legal or financial connection to the car."
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NJ Judge Rules GPS Tracking of Spouse Legal

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  • by RsG (809189) on Friday July 08, 2011 @01:02PM (#36696754)

    That could be a problem.

    The legality here, which the end of the summary alludes to, is that there's joint ownership involved with respect to the car. If a car is property of both parties, and spouse A puts a tracker on it (or more likely gets a PI to do it), but doesn't tell spouse B, then (s)he can't be charged under this precedent. It sucks, from a moral standpoint, that the being-spied-upon spouse doesn't have a recourse, but what's right and what's legal aren't always the same thing.

    A GPS jammer OTOH could be illegal by simple dint of disrupting the GPS systems of people not involved in this marital spat. This is an annoyance if the person being disrupted is merely using their GPS to get to the grocery store; it could be a much bigger problem if they're on their way to the hospital. I'm not sure as to the legality of jammers by jurisdiction, but it would surprise me if there aren't laws or precedent in place, for more or less this reason.

    A better solution would be a detector; sweep the car for bugs.

  • by Amouth (879122) on Friday July 08, 2011 @01:09PM (#36696856)

    we GPS jammers are illegal as to jam you need to broadcast on the same frequency with would require a licence that the FCC isn't going to give to anyone outside of the Military or NASA.

    a detector more than likely wouldn't work as most of theses trackers are placed and they listen and then store data local and then are retrieved physically by the person who put it there.. if it isn't broadcasting it would be very difficult to detect remotely considering the current makeup of a modern car.

  • Re:Honestly... (Score:5, Informative)

    by goodmanj (234846) on Friday July 08, 2011 @02:01PM (#36697632)

    You've clearly never been married. "proof of guilt" is not a moral or psychological issue: it's a *financial* one. If you can't prove your wife cheated on you, you may find yourself in a position where your ex-wife's now shacking up with your boss, your kids are taken away from you, your ex-wife has half your stuff and you owe alimony for the rest of your life.

    I'm not making any moral judgements on anyone involved here, but the reason the knives come out during divorces is not because people are petty and vindictive. Well, they are petty and vindictive, but things get really vicious because gigantic piles of cash are involved.

  • Bad summary (Score:5, Informative)

    by DaveV1.0 (203135) on Friday July 08, 2011 @02:04PM (#36697662) Journal

    The use of a GPS device to track your whereabouts is not an invasion of privacy in New Jersey, a state appellate court panel ruled today.

    No, that is not what the panel ruled. The panel ruled that someone with at least partial ownership of a vehicle may install, or cause to be installed, a GPS tracking device even if said person is not the primary user of said vehicle.
     
    This ruling is very narrow and does not address placing a GPS tracking device in a car one does not own.

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