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GPS Tracking Devices and Apps: Legal or Not?

January 17, 2014 Private Investigations

At Sunset Blvd. Investigations, Inc., we frequently receive calls from people asking if there’s a cell phone app available to track someone through GPS (Global Positioning System) and if it’s legal to purchase a tracking device to put on someone’s car in order to follow them.

Our first response is to advise the caller of California Penal Code Section 637.7, which states:

(a) No person or entity in this state shall use an electronic tracking device to determine the location or movement of a person.

(b) This section shall not apply when the registered owner, lessor, or lessee of a vehicle has consented to the use of the electronic tracking device with respect to that vehicle.

(c) This section shall not apply to the lawful use of an electronic tracking device by a law enforcement agency.

(d) As used in this section, “electronic tracking device” means any device attached to a vehicle or other movable thing that reveals its location or movement by the transmission of electronic signals.

(e) A violation of this section is a misdemeanor.

If you install a GPS tracker and use it clandestinely, you are running a severe legal risk.

There are smartphone tracking apps that various carriers allow their customers to download. With those downloads comes a warning: The tracker app is a tool that allows you to track the location of another smartphone user, but to follow another person, they must use the GPS phone tracker to grant you permission.

There are private investigators who advertise GPS as part of their surveillance investigations. It should be noted that SBI does not. We’re honest with our clients and tell them the pros and cons of everything that they may request of us.

We’ve handled many cases where people, while having their vehicle serviced or repaired, were told that the mechanic had observed an odd device affixed to the under carriage of their vehicle. The answer to what you’re thinking is, “Yes, they were either being surveilled or stalked.”

SBI was hired by the victims on those cases and subsequently located the people who placed the GPS devices on their vehicle and the suspects were arrested.

SBI is there for YOU! Contact us today!

Need a private investigator?

Sunset Blvd. Investigations, Inc. provides seasoned and effective private investigation services for clients throughout the United States and Internationally. Our combined 80 years as law enforcement officers coupled with our private investigative experience distinguishes us from all other investigation businesses. If you’re in need of a private investigator, we’re here to assist you in any way we can. 

Call today at 888-406-0149 to contact us and request a consultation!

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