Friday, 25 April 2014

GPS Tracking Devices

GPS Tracking Devices; Do's & Don'ts

We are not lawyers. The following is not legal advice & should not be taken as such.

The fact that GPS Tracking devices are now commercially available has resulted in a lot of confusion, broken laws, & wannabe/ DIY-P.I.s. There are specific laws in Canada limiting the use of these devices & they are not open to interpretation, (ignorance is no excuse for the law & can not be used as a defence). The specific laws pertaining to GPS tracking devices can be explained by a lawyer but it's actually fairly simple: you can not put one on someone else's property without permission or a warrant. 

You can place a tracking device on your own property or with the owner's consent. Police can put them on vehicles as long as they have a warrant.  Reputable private investigators will only use them under legal circumstances.

If you drive a company vehicle, your boss can - and likely has - put a tracker on it. They have proven to be invaluable for fleet, (and personnel), management.

Putting one on the family car can protect, (& keep tabs on), a teenaged driver - as long as they're not the legal owner.

If you are married, your spouse's vehicle is fair game if it's marital property. You're out of luck if you want to put one on your boyfriend's, (or girlfriend's), car though.

GPS tracking devices are no longer limited to vehicles. Small GPS devices are now used in cell phones, worn around the neck, in backpacks, or even in shoes.

GPS tracking systems have a number of positive applications. They can be worn around the neck, in backpacks, and even in shoes. (, to protect children and the elderly. They can be attached to valuable property, such as boats or ATVs to assist in recovery in the event of theft.

Unfortunately, there will always be people who ignore the law and people who use them for nefarious reasons. Micro units can be placed in cell phones or a phone's GPS system can be hacked into with an app.  They can be placed on or inside your vehicle without your knowledge.

There are two main types that are used in vehicles: wired and wireless.  The hardwired units can be left in place indefinitely.  The battery-operated units are typically housed in a weather-resistant, sturdy, casing with a strong magnet and need to be retrieved in order to change the battery. There are two types of wireless trackers. "Live" GPS trackers can be set to specific time intervals, such as 5 or 10 seconds. Even though they can be pricey and need to have a data plan, the same as a cell phone, they have a number of benefits over the "logger" units. In addition to being monitored in real time, they can be located if they were to fall off of the vehicle. The logger types "log" information and need to be retrieved and downloaded in order to get the information from them. They are less expensive and don't require a data plan. In addition to not being monitored in real-time, if they fall off and get lost  - they're lost.  Both types offer reports in a number of formats and come with fairly simple-to-install software and instructions.  Both types can be either purchased or rented.

If you suspect that someone may have illegally placed a GPS tracker on your vehicle, (or property), you should report it to police immediately.

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