With the debate over the legality of warrant-less GPS tracking by police still raging, a new ruling in New Jersey has helped define the legality of civilians, and spouses in particular, tracking one another.
The case in question came to court when the cheating husband, Kenneth Villanova, sued his wife and her private investigator, Richard Leonard, for an invasion of privacy. The invasion of privacy was over the fact that his wife placed a GPS tracker on his car, enabling Leonard to track Mr. Villanova’s location at all times.
The New Jersey appellate court, however, found that there was no invasion of privacy on Mrs. Villanova’s and Leonard’s part. The GPS tracker was placed while the car was on a public street, and did the same job as a person simply following Mr. Villanova to know his whereabouts. In simpler terms, Mr. Villanova had no right to expect privacy because the GPS device tracked his movement on public streets, meaning there could be no invasion of privacy.
Aside from the fact that Mr. Villanova has no right to privacy on a public street, private investigators like Leonard only use GPS trackers under specific circumstances:
“We only use it when we are sure we have the appropriate conditions,’’ Lisa Reed, owner of LSR Investigations 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.
So for all the worried spouses or parents keeping up with GPS tracking laws and reading our blog, it is now safe to install a GPS tracker on your or your spouse’s car and not have to worry about getting into legal trouble for it later on.