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The Debate Continues: Should Covert Tracking be Legal?

The Debate Continues: Should Covert Tracking be Legal?
June 29, 2015 Fleet Tracking Editor

The U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights guarantee our rights as American citizens. How then is the scope of our privacy rights defined when it comes to law enforcement and covert tracking of those “suspected” of illegal activity – including terror suspects?

This is one very hot privacy issue and one that will be propelled into the limelight, with intense arguments on both sides of the coin, should the nation’s highest court, the Supreme Court, decide to hear a case appeal filed by the Obama administration.

Up until now, the GPS tracking issue has been decided by district courts throughout the country. While no one knows how many individuals are covertly tracked with GPS units each year, it is known and confirmed that the Justice Department frequently uses the devices in their tracking efforts. Information from the FBI does report that agents often turn to GPS tracking devices when suspects become difficult to physically tail.

GPS tracking is a valuable technology solution utilized by many worldwide companies for the tracking of fleets and vehicles that monitor employee activities and improve driver safety, assist with route planning and dispatch activities, improve inefficiencies, stop theft, and much more – all impacting the businesses’ bottom line. More recent product developments in asset tracking enable companies to protect and secure equipment, containers, trailers and other valuable assets. Rhino Fleet Tracking is one of the nation’s premier GPS tracking companies offering commercial and private GPS tracking solutions.

This author has very mixed feelings about the government in the GPS privacy issue. On one side, there is the issue of saving taxpayers money if technology is used instead of massive man hours, there is the issue of obtaining critical information to help solve crimes and finally in this age of terroristic threats, the utilization of this technology to protect and save lives. We must recognize that, if the Supreme Court agrees to hear the federal law suit regarding this Arab-American college student, and upholds that covert GPS tracking is not legal, it could be a huge win for those in the criminal element or worse yet, those who may have desires to harm this nation’s citizens.

However, on the flip side of this coin, we cannot minimize, in any way, the infringement upon our freedom of privacy. The rights of our government are clearly outlined in the U.S. Constitution. It is a very slippery slope to allow any governmental agency the authority to track and monitor the location of its citizens.

Many believe, and rightly so, that once this door is open, that it is only a matter of time before GPS units are mandatory on all new vehicles and that big brother will have his eye on everything that we do. It’s a hot issue and one that will have major consequences regardless of what side you happen to be on.

Regards,

Steven Van Ooyen, CEO