Virginia Delegate Looks To Limit GPS Tracking

Virginia Delegate Looks To Limit GPS Tracking
Anne Marie Morgan,Virginia Public Radio

August 16,2011 –Virginia legislators say technological advances and the ways that people use them are developing so rapidly that the laws can’t always keep up. The latest example is how people deploy global positioning systems (GPS) to track other people,frequently without their knowledge.

The General Assembly’s technology experts are considering a new law that would shorten the list of those who may legally track another person.

Americans have expectations of privacy,but new technologies could erode that. Joint Commission on Technology and Science Chairman Del. Joe May (R) says physical or financial harm could come through use of tracking devices.

“That could be used by a stalker to determine where you are,what your habits are,”May says. “If it’s someone who wishes to obtain commercial information,where you are at a given time,it can be very much used against you. And at the moment,there is absolutely noting to preclude that.”

May said a constituent complained that an ex-wife placed a tracking device on his car without his knowledge.

“He took exception to that,and when he went to the district attorney,the district attorney said there’s nothing here that’s against the law,”May says.

May’s proposal would make it illegal to put a tracking device on a vehicle or person without consent,but carve out exceptions for parents of minor children,law enforcement,and in some cases,private detectives.

The bill would have to win approval of the full General Assembly to become law.

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