Is It Legal To Put a GPS Tracking Device on Someone’s Car?

I regularly read the search words and phrases that readers use to find the GPS Tracking ROI blog.  The title of this post is a very common one.  It’s also the kind of question that is very easy to answer.  Without any quibbling the answer is, yes, no or maybe.

Oh, you wanted a more definitive answer?  Well, here it is.  First of all, remember that I am an expert on GPS tracking business and technology, I am not a lawyer and do not offer legal advice.  If you have a legal issue, you need a lawyer, period.

Peugeot Elegance

Is She Being Tracked?

Creative Commons License photo credit: William A. Franklin But I can give you some clues.  The question as it is written is nearly impossible to answer accurately.  You really need to go through a chain of other questions to get even close to an answer.  Here are a few things that will get you in the ball park:

  • Are you the owner of the car in question?  If you are, it is almost certainly legal in all states, except (and this can be a big exception) if the person you are gathering information on is an adult and a co-owner of the car … example, your spouse.  You could get in a jam regarding invasion of privacy and such, and you could find that information you gather is legally inadmissible.  You really need a lawyer’s advice on that one.
  • Is the person being tracked your own child?  If so, placing the device is likely legal under some conditions almost anywhere.  As a general rule minor children are not entitled to an expectation of privacy from their parents.  If it’s someone else’s minor child, though, I wouldn’t walk away from the idea, I would run.
  • Is the installation secretive or disclosed?  example, if you are a car rental company and you warn people that you are tracking the car it is likely legal.  If you just install the device and use it clandestinely you are likely running a grave legal risk.
  • If the person driving the car is your employee, it’s almost certainly legal.  Again, though, disclosure is the better part of valor.  I also find, from experience, that companies who disclose GPS employee tracking properly, in advance, gain more benefit than companies who try to keep it secret.
  • If you are a third-party, like a private investigator, your question is way beyond my scope of knowledge.  All 50 states have their own set of laws and the specifics of each individual case may be different.  Again, seek proper advice before you act, nor after you have already ‘stepped in” something.
  • If you are a law enforcement agency again your state laws may vary.  In many cases over the past 10 years courts have held that police can track people mainly at will as long as they are only gaining the same information that a law officer could gain by other means … example actually following the vehicle physically.
  • GPS surveillance in many states is legal even without a warrant in many states, based on the above rule.  An important differentiator about warrants in many states is entrance to the vehicle.  If an officer can attach a device without gaining entry to the vehicle it is often legal without a judge’s approval, if entry us required so is a warrant in many cases.
  • And as a windup, will the act of placing the device take place on public property or on the car owner’s own property?  Even police agencies often have to get a warrant to go on private property for an “install”.  Let’s suppose you are a private citizen wanting to track another adult for some reason you think is valid.  Even if the act of tracking is legal in your state, the entry onto another person’s property is likely trespass and in many states that’s a serious crime in itself.

So now that you are thoroughly confused, here’s my parting thought.  Think through the reason you might have that question in your mind.  What are you doing wrong that would cause you to suspect you are being tracked?  is it worth it?

Remember there are many ways to track a car or person without GPS installed … cell phones being a prime example, so it may be more profitable to evaluate your lifestyle rather than this often complex question about GPS Tracking.


  • gina

    can repo company put gps magnet and follow in california

    • dave

      Hi Gina, thanks for commenting. Your question is interesting and important in these troubled times. Sorry, though, it is not one I can answer … I’m not a lawyer, and you need a California lawyer to advise you on this one. There are so many complex legal issues here … and almost all that I see written on questions like this seem top refer to the rights of police, which likely are different than the rights of a repossession agency. The again, when the repo agency has a court order (which they normally do) to repossess the car, they are acting under the authority of the court, so they may have adifferent set of rights than John Q. Citizen. Again you need a lawyer.

      I’m interested in what prompted this question? Are you working for a repossession company, or are you trying to hide from one? Or are you thinking about (legal) revenge after one took your car?

    • dave

      Hi Gina,

      Possibly they can. If they’re an agent of the lien holder they will likely be treated as having an ownership interest. But I really can’t say, becuase not only do all 50 states have different laws, even counties have gotten in the picture. I’m not a lawyer. If you have a legal issue, you need one. Best I can tell you.

  • Dan

    CA penal code section 637.7 is your answer. no it is not legal for someone to invade your privacy by electronic devices.

    • dave

      Thanks for that helpful answer, Dan … however, it’s only particlaly correct. Here’s what the law actually says:

      (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, lesser, 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.

      If a registered owner wishes to have the vehicle tracked, such as a husband or wife wishing to track their possibly errant spouse )if the car is registered to them) , or a business owner wishing to track Assets He Owns then tracking is perfectly legal in California. That’s why I advised the original reader with a question to consult counsel, and I still do.

      Unqualified “Drive by” answer like yours may be helpful or they may be leagal hand grenades.

    • Andriy

      Thanks. It helps a lot.

    • Shawna McBride

      Thanks Dave. I don’t see haw it can be legal to place a gps device on another’s car. Didn’t appreciate the answer that said “what are u doing wrong that you’re worried?” I have been a victim of stalking and seems to me this falls into that category. Must someone die before they outlaw these easy to obtain and install devices??

      • Mr. GPS

        @ Shawna

        Thanks for contributing. I have never advocated the illegal use of GPS trackers.

        That being said I can’t agree with your “make them illegal” stance. These devices are extremely useful for many, many purposes. It’s sort of like the on-going “pro gun”/”anti gun” argument. Banning guns becuase certain people do illegal things with them makes no more sense than banning useful tools from everyone just because a certain sub-set of humanity chooses to do illegal things with them. Godspeed.

  • Reid

    What about GPS tracking of people with dementia/alzheimers disese? Or using GPS to locate residents of an assisted-living facility? Not sure when this artical was posted

    • dave

      Not quite sure of the question here, Reid. Is it legal to track nursing home residents or assisted living patrons? Certainly, if they agree.

      It’s legal to track anyone who agrees. The problem with tracking this segment of the population is, the hardware/software for practical ‘wearable’ tracking devices is not yet ready for prime time. It’s not quite like you see on TV.

  • James

    Is it legal in North Carolina for a person who does not any ownership interest in a vehicle and is not married to you to put a GPS tracking device on your car? My ex-girl friend did this and I have proof.

    • dave

      James, how are you. I am not qualified to answer that question, laws differ from state to state and even from county to county at times. It sounds to me as if you need a lawyer, and/or a consult with a police detective, because the “I have proof” statement leads me to believe you are contemplaying legal action of some sort. Better get qualified advice before you say something in a public place (the Internet) that later leadsto problems, know what I mean?

  • tommy

    my? if im living with my girl friend can she put a gps on my truck with out me knowing and the truck is in my name not hers she want to be able to follow me with out me know can she do that?

    • dave

      Hi Tommy, thanks for writing in. The “legal” answer to your question probably depends on what state you live in. In many states, only the registered owner of a vehicle an consent to tracking. So in many states, she can not _legally_ track a truck that you own. However, she certainly might do it on her own, contrary to the law.

      What’s to stop her? What’s going to happen to her if she does it? Police SWAT team breaking down the door? In practicality, if she wants to do it, she can and worry about the legalities later Police aren’t likely to be much interested in boy friend/girl friend squabbles unless there is domestic violence involved, they are unlikely to haul her off to jail for violating some privacy law … in most cases you couldn’t do much more than file a civil law suit, and that would cost you a bundle, even if you win.

      Man to man advice? Figure out why she seems to feel the need to do this? Does she have reason to suspect you, or is she paranoid? There’s more at play here than GPS tracking, me thinks …

      • Mom to Learned the hard way

        Here in Washington State, the police are very much interested in boyfriend/girlfriend squabbles and my young son, unfortunately learned the hard way. His girlfriend at the time,placed some type of tracking device on my son’s phone,who figured it out quite quickly and removed it,however in “retailiation” did the same thing and place the same tracking device on her phone. When she found it, instead of doing the samething and removing it, she called the police who responded and decided to persue charges of “Stalking” and since they were in a relationship (obviously a dysfunctional one) gave the Stalking charge a Domestic Violence tag.Domestic Violence in Washington does not have to be physically or abusive, only a “crime” where as the people involved has or had any type of relationship. Once a so called crime has a DV tag, it is no longer up to the (and I say this very reluctantly)victim to persue or drop any charges. The state moves forward no matter what. Even though the (of course by now Ex-Girlfriend) openly admits that she had put this device on his phone to begin with and made sworn statments that there was never any type of violence etc. The State still moved forward, costing the family a large amount of money to defend him against “Stalking-DV” crime. In the long run, it was reduced to a “Computer Tresspass – DV” charge. So this is just a warning to all, that placing any tracking device without someone’s knowledge could be persued by law enforcement as “Stalking”

  • Holly

    Would it be illegal to track my 40 year old neighbor who won’t stop messing with my kids? Just to get an idea of if he’s a threat or not?

    • dave

      Hi Holly, thanks for writing in. Based on what I know (I’m not a lawyer, remember) it certainly would be illegal. Here’s some info that may help:

      In the first place, what does “messing with my kids” mean? If you mean inappropriate sexual behavior, trying to get them alone, stalking/spying on them, etc., then you should run, not walk, to your local police department and explain what’s going on … right now. Mother’s usually have a pretty good sense in this area, and sadly, some neglect the feeling becuase they feel they have to have proof before they talk with the police. Not so. Most police departments are pretty well versed in these situations these days, if you happen to run into a ‘dud’ department, go higher … your state police, city or county prosecutor’s office, etc.

      If it turns out there is nothing behind your fears, hey, no problem. If there is, you could be saving your own or someone else’s children too so this is too serious to ignore. Trying to do trackig and other ‘detecting’ on your own cold actually jeopardize a possible case against this guy, so take no chances.

      Now, if by “messing with” you mean he’s obnoxious or nasty or seems to be mean to them, then you have a judgment call to make. Harassment is illegal too but police won’t take it so seriously in many cases. The US has become a nation of “F-U screamer’s” and raised middle finger people, and there is no law that requires politeness and decent manners.

      Only you can decide if it is time to approach the police yet. But one thing for sure, if this guy isn’t any sort of a criminal, but just a genuine asshole, then trying something illegal like tracking him will only give him ammunition to make life harder for your kids.

      Hope this helps, and again, if you really think this guy is a pervert, get law enforcement help now, stop thinking about playing Nancy Drew, we all tend to watch too many TV crime shows … or at least I sure do 😉

  • Keryl

    If a lawyer asked you to come to his office for a meeting just to have his investigator put a GPS on your car for a client it was later learned he represented, is that illegal and is there a way to get proof after the fact that you were tracked by that means.

    • dave

      Keryl, there’s no real answer to your question, except for an attorney. In other words, what state did this occur in (all states have somewhat different laws on this, was the car yours (no one else on the title), who was the client (any marital/parental/employee relationship, etc. If you feel you were wronged and tricked like this, you should seek legal advice.

      As far as proof by showing the tracking somewhere? There’s no central repository, or record of tracking in the satellites, if that’s what you are thinking. If the device recorded dates, times, locations and if you can get access to those recordings … sure.

  • Howard

    One wonders if it is legal for the police to place such a device simply at the request of some influential individual. Also, once the device is placed, how long is it legal to leave such a device in place? And what if the device was placed for no good reason or mere suspicion. Would not plain decency dictate that the person wrongfully tracked be informed afterward and the device moved!

    • dave

      A judge in the state involved would have to answer your specific questions, Howard. In general courts have ruled that driving a car is no different than walking on a public street …no expectation of privacy, and the GPS tracking doesn’t invade privacy any more than someone following you in another car … so there are often no special restrictions on GPS. But, again, all states may be different.

  • Beth

    I believe my husbands crazy ex wife may be following our every move on OUR COURT ORDERED VISITATION DAYS & OVERNIGHTS by using a GPS tracking devise in the child’s cell phone when he is with us. Is that legal?

    I can’t see how it is if it is our court ordered visitation day. I feel this is a total invasion of my privacy.

    Thanks for any feedback.

    • dave

      I can’t comment on what is legal and illegal … I’m not a lawyer. However, the easy solution is, turn off the cell phone. Or is that too simple?

  • JT

    Okay if you dont want the repo man to take your how about you not worry about the fact if they can or canot put a tracking device on it how about you pay your god damn bill gina

    • dave

      I should have told JT to watch the language, don’t attack the person directly and all those other goody-goody things and then I realized how many of our problems today are caused just by that one factor … people who refuse to pay their bill … financially or morally.

      Be well my freinds.

  • shultana

    Is it legal to put a GPS Tracking device on my ex husband, so i know where he is taking my children.

    • dave

      Shultana, hello and thanks for writing in. When you say put a device “on your ex-husband”, are you talking something attached to him, personally, or to his car? Tracking him, physically is likely illegal and so is putting a tracker on his car … again, there are 50 different states and 50 sets of laws, so you really need a lawyer to research this for you.

  • Dayna

    My husband and his dad have been working for this company for quite some time. They are the top sales men for the company. They now have a hand held computer that has a hand held printer. They just put the GPS system on it and they are tracking them down. they do not own the trucks its there personal truck. There sales or business is not going down. My question is do they have the right to locate them? They are not being paid hourly!!

    • dave

      Hi Dayna, thanks for writing in with a question. But I’m sorry, I don’t know what the answer is. First of all, you say these men are ”working’ for the company. If they are employees, it’s very likely the company has every right in the world to tack their employees.

      Some of you other comments indicates they might be independent contractors. In that case, could be the company does not have the right to track them. But again, no way to know without knowing their legal status.

      Most important, though, in this case … your husband and your dad-in-law seemingly agreed to have the trackers out on their personal vehicles … this in effect probably makes it legal, anywhere .. they gave their consent.

      There are a lot of business reasons to track sales people, even in their own vehicles. Number one reason is, are they being paid for mileage or other vehicle expenses. Some employees cheat on this, some companies cheat (or ‘forget’ to pay). The GPS is an independent, unbiased witness.

      Another issue is personal safety? As a wife and daughter-in-law, you don’t sometimes worry about one of them laying injured in a roadside ditch, or being kidnapped, etc.? GPS provides some safety there. It also frequently protects employees against false claims where someone alleges they did something unsafe, ir caused an accident or some such.

      So the GPS works both for and against employees/private contractors. Is it better in your case that they have it, or not have it? Only you can make that decision, but it appears your husband and father-in-law already made the decision for themselves.

      One thing for sure … this story points up the mistake companies make time and time again with GPS tracking. Do Not implement it without educating the workers on:

      What you are using it for,
      Why you are using it,
      What their rights and
      What the company’s rights are, in advance.

      Slapping on GPS tracking and leaving the workers ‘in the dark’ is a recipe for hate and discontent, and shows a glaring lack of respect for your works. It’s bad business all the way around.



    • dave

      I really don’t know, Phil. I’m guessing you are tlaking about a used car dealer here, where the dealer puts a GPS oon the car so he can find the car for repossession if you fall behind on payments?

      The law is different in all 50 states, and I don’t get paid to research all of them … I’ll guess, though, that the dealer knows the legality … else why would he invest in the GPS program, possibly alienate customers with it, etc.? But to find out, for sure, becuase I can see this has upset you a bit, contact the Florida Attorney General’s Consumer Protection site. That’s where you’d get authoritative opinions on something like this. Godspeed.

  • So Dave,
    It sounds like you really need a law degree!
    Hope you’re having fun!
    Your buddy,

    • dave

      Indeed it does seem like legal territory all the time, Bruce. It’s really a shame more individuals (and businesses) don’t realize that good can be done with GPS tracking, not just ‘dirt’.

  • Vicki

    Hi, I think someone in my apt building has been tracking my phone for some time, they seem to know everything I say and do. I figured if I leave my phone in my apt, and go out if no one actually sees me they don’t seem to know I am gone. They break in my apt if they can make sure I have left the apt. I have told the police this over and over again and I don’t think they really believe me. They are nice and file complaints, but, it hasn’t stopped, what can I do to stop this. I have told management in my apt building, and they are angry that I have told the police and am making waves. I will move eventually, but I am handicapped and cannot do this right now. I am also being harassed in my apt building. Thanks, Vicki.

    • Hi Vicki, thanks for contributing to the community here. I have to say, though, I’m at a loss as to what this has to do with GPS? Assuming someone is tracking your cell phone, they don’t need GPS to do that. And ‘knowing everything you say’? That sounds as if they are actually tapping your phone itself. If the police won’t help, how about your cell phone carrier. If your landlord won’t help, how about the Better Business beueau or your city council? Bst of luck, I don’t see how GPS can do much about your situation, though. Godspeed.

  • A dude somewhere out there

    I am registered co-owner of my wife truck. I installed a gps tracking device without her knowledge. I am in Pa. If she finds it can I be arrested or charged with invasion of privacy?

    • dave

      Hi Dude, so far as I know, an owner can track his or her own vehicle as desired,and they don’t need to inform other drivers. BUT, I am not a lawyer, so my opinion has as much (or as little) weight as what ‘they’ say down at the local pub.

      You sound perhaps guilty, worried, concerned about this. Why would you even consider arrest ot prosecution, unless something has already happened … or someone said something … or???

  • Sue

    Is it legal fo my live in boyfriend to track my car in the state of oklahoma

    • It’s probably not legal. But the question is, why are you asking? Is he tracking you? If so, don’t ask me, go to the police … they would be the one’s who have to deal with it. Frankly, anyone who would put up with that level of trust with someone you are not related to or married to is not using sound judgement.. Respect yourself more, that’s my non-GPS advice.

  • shawn J

    If you are the sole owner of a car, and it is paid it off, no liens, etc., and you find a GPS tracking device on your car, can you legally remove it, even if you don’t know who put it there? Presuming that you don’t know who put it there, could there be some circumstances in which it would be illegal to simply rip it off your car and dispose of it?

    I seem to remember a situation in which some sort of information collection devices were put on the car by the manufacturer, and the manufacturer claimed that they own it and the info it collects.

    Then there is the possibility that a tracker could put there by law enforcement, unbeknownst to you. I believe that the Supreme court is right now debating the issue of whether law enforcement needs a warrant to track your vehicle.

    • I am not a lawyer. However, I am pretty confident in saying any device you find on a car you own you can remove …better make sure you know what you are disconnecting, though, I’m not a mechanic either.

      I’m thinking your confusion factor regarding manufacturer proprietary data involved a number of lawsuits a few years back .. most involved Ford .. where Ford did not want to give access to data stored in certain computer systems built into the car. These did not have anything to do with GPS tracking, they mainly revolved around engine, transmission and braking system performance data.

      The basic argument against Ford’s claim of ownership of the data was restriction to trade. Independent mechanics were not able to access the data via computerized test equipment, effectively forcing owners to use only Ford dealerships for service. Not surprisingly, Ford suffered a resounding loss.

      But I know of no such cases/restrictions that involved any GPS tracking systems.

  • IfYourDisliked

    If Somebody don’t like you or hates you a well placed GPS or just following Can be used to do you harm .
    If They want to get you in trouble. They can stick one on you & make things happen where your at.

    Plain Simple Underhanded and Sinister.
    Worst thing You will never know somebody doing it to you till its to late.
    Then they need to make you look like some nut job to finish you off. GPS should only be used when there’s facts Not Speculation.Any group of Haters can do an unsuspecting person in.
    If someone wants to do you harm bad enough Good F******G Luck. In my case The Male is the target.Me

    • dave

      Well, it’s all true … although people can get you in trouble/do you harm without any GPS involvement at all. Seems to me as if you are focusing on the technology rather than the reasons people might want to do you harm. But, hey, no problem, thanks for your thoughts on this …

  • IfYourDisliked

    Thank’s for the 4 reply. When you inform on people and they find out your the source.GPS and or the sky might be the limit to needing to know where there MARK is.
    I have no reason to think there going to stop doing what there doing.Just need someone to know i’m telling the truth.

  • Bill Davis

    The statement in this thread is dead wrong ” GPS surveillance in many states is legal even without a warrant in many states, based on the above rule. An important differentiator about warrants in many states is entrance to the vehicle. If an officer can attach a device without gaining entry to the vehicle it is often legal without a judge’s approval, if entry us required so is a warrant in many cases.”

    Has the author read the Supreme Court decision of January 2012 concerning the GPS tracking of Antoine Jones without a warrant?

    If the author has knowledge of that key decision, how can he still make the statement above? Seems blatantly irresponsible to me. And dead wrong.

    • dave

      Thanks for your opinion, Bill. It’s not clear to me exactly whose statement you are referring to, but of it is mine, based on laws as they were years before the Supreme Court decision that came in 2012 (which I dutifully reported on here), sorry ’bout that. Are you sure there aren’t statements you made 3 or 4 years ago that may today be changed because the laws have changed?

      Cut me some slack, dude. (hint, I am sure there are typos on this site and perhaps a fractured syntax or two as well. Feel free to find them and comment on them as well). It is what it is. As always,if you need legal advice, see a lawyer, not someone’s personal opinions (clearly disclaimered as personal opinion, not legal advice)

      irresponsible not to re-edit everything I have written over the years because the law changed? Just how much did you pay to come here and read, anyway? Send me a copy of your receipt for payment and I will happily refund you triple your fee.

  • Valeria

    Well I think it is a disgrace for any state to say it’s legal to allow a company you work for to put a tracking device on your personal car and to also put the device on your spouse’s car that doesn’t even work for that company. It is a scary feeling to know someone put a tracking device on your car without your knowledge and you find the device under your car. Whats next are we gonna allow are jobs tap are phones to. It should be illegal to put a device on anyone car without there knowledge unless they have a court order.

  • John

    One comment stuck out- police can track someone if they can do so by other means. So they can GPS you if they could also tail you. This was not held up several months back b/c they collected so much information on his whereabouts that it would have required several officers working 24/7 tailing the suspect. It is obvious that is not realistic for police agencies to the court effectively limited how much of the data could be admitted and the extent cops can just sit back and let the GPS do everything for them.

  • Dj

    I bought a vehicle and was told the GPS tracker was a tracker in case it was stolen. But when I called the lein holder about where to send the payments to because the dealer did not give me that info, I asked about the tracker & was told that if payments weren’t made on time they would shut the car off. I am very upset because the dealer did not inform me of this. So my question is, would it be illegal for me to unhook it? It creeps me out knowing someone is tracking my son’s every move ( the vehicle was bought for my son). I live in Alabama. I am going to the dealer to talk to the general manager but it probably won’t do any good but they will know I am not a happy customer because I also found that I was charged for gap insurance that I did not need because I had to have full coverage before pulling off the lot!

    • Mr. GPS

      Sorry but the only person who can really answer this question for you is a Lawyer familiar with Alabama law. The GPS may be contractually required by the purchase contract. Then again, it may not … no way I can offer an informed opinion, sorry.

  • ian

    Hi the issue I have with trackers on company vehicles of which is been trialed in the company I work for after the New Year is the element of trust. We are sales representatives in a large company which involves a lot of out of hours working on our own time. This tracking means we will be subject to 8am to 6pm tracking but what about after hours at home. I pay benefit in kind too.

    • Mr. GPS

      Sounds like a problem between you and your employer. I see absolutely no reason a company can not control it’s own assets. But certianly this may stick in an employee’s “craw”.

      When you say “benefits in kind” I am guessing you are talking about the availability of the company vehicle 24/7 being considered part of your overall income?

      Seems to me that the tracking protects not only the company’s bottom line, but yours. But if you still don’t like it, I don’t see any legal thing you can do about it. Sorry

  • auston

    is it legall to put a gps tracking device on a car that is parked in a public parking lot

    • Mr. GPS

      @ auston

      Thanks for writing in. Have to respond though that it’s essentially impossible to answer your question based on the information provided.

      The most important consideration would be, who owned the car, who placed the device, how “Public” the parking lot might really be, etc.

      You should consult an attorney in your state for real advice. On the Internet you will get dozens of opinions and “I thinks”, but no layman’s opinion, including mine, is worth anything without knowing the law of your state and the particulars of your case.

  • MLM

    can my employer use GPS tracking device. I am a general manager and using my own personal vehicle, I’m in California.

    • Mr. GPS

      @ MLM

      Well there’s too little info here to form an opinion? By “use GPS tracking device”, do you mean he wants to install one on your vehicle? Or is there one already there, or???

      In general, if he informs you, and you chose to allow it, certainly he can. If he tries to install something secretly and use it without your knowledge, then he has probably crossed into the land of illegality. In general, though, an employer has the right to monitor employee’s work performance during duty hours … GPS or no GPS.

      Does he pay you for the miles you travel for business? You might very well want to be tracked just for tax purposes … you know you have to declare whatever reimbursement you get for mileage, and be able to prove business mileage use.

      But if you are real, and want to discuss this, write back with some more info.

  • Susan

    I am concerned that my X2B is following me. I have a restraining order and he is trying to intimidate me. He is showing up within a few minutes of me everywhere I go. I have been told he can’t be tracking me if I have the GPS shut off on my phone. He does have a tracking system he uses for a truck for his company. Is there anyway he can be tracking me?

    • dave

      @ Susan:

      Your X2B can not track you with a GPS tracking device that is used to track his truck. It doesn’t work that way. Two ways he could be tracking you that are commonly available are:

      1. He might have installed a tracker on your car.
      2. (Most likely) he might be tracking your cell phone. Even if the GPS is “Off” in your phone, he could be tracking the cell tower’s your phone is communicating with as you travel. This can be done any time your phone is on .. you don’t have to make calls. As long as your phone is powered, it will be maintaining contact with the cell phone network.

      Recommendation, try traveling with your phone turned off for a few days .. and, especially since you already have a restraining order Contact The Police … that’s why they are there.

  • Martin Y

    I recently left my job due to false accusations from my boss and I suspect that he may have planted a GPS device on my personal vehicle since did it on the work truck I used to drive. I’m wondering if he did install one because he is cold like that and very sneaky like a snake. Can an alarm company help me find out?

    • Mr. GPS

      @ Martin Y

      Actually it is hard to say who could help you, Martin, as there are many GPS tracking devices which are designed to be concealed. Many can be found easily, but there is no guarantee. Frankly, if you think someone has installed a device on your car illegally, your first stop should be the police … they should also know a reliable shop/technician who handles clandestine GPS work, and there is, from what you suggest, a possible criminal activity involved here. Why handle it yourself? That’s what law enforcement is for.

  • Dan

    My wife and I own a small printing company. The company we own recently purchased a van. Would it be legal for me place a gps tracking device on the van to track the places she frequents ?

    • Mr. GPS

      @ Dan

      Interesting question, Dan. Remembering that I am not a lawyer, and these are my personal thoughts and not legal advice, here are afew questions/suggetsions.

      1. If you have work vehicle on the road for your compoany you are missing a huge opportunity to improve your business’s bototm line if you don’t use GPS tracking continuously to monitor your business. This is over and above any issues you might have about your wife’s activities directly. Get a decent commercial GPS tracking system NOW and start using it. I have sold and or installed thousands of these units and it will pay for itself in a few months an dgive you a return on your investment every month thereafter.

      2. As far as the legalities of specifically tracking your wife’s activities, a primary question is who owns the truck, who controls the business .. in other words who reports to whom. In general, in all 50 states, the owner of any vehicle and the owner of any business has the right to monitor the use of his or her own vehicles. In many states, and under the heading of sound business practice anyway, notice to all employees should be given. This avoids any claims of illegal monitoring, etc.

      3. From the way you worded this question I have the idea you are thinking of monitoring your wife in secret. You probably have the right to do this, but many states have highly restrictive “Stalking Laws”, so there could be a big problem if you do this and then she finds out.

      You need to talk to an attorney licensed to practice in Pennsylvania. When you are sick, see a doctor. When you are thinking of doing something which you already know MAY be illegal, consult a lawyer before you possibly get yourself in a jam.

  • dino

    so lets say you were to put a tracking device on someones car to prove they were doing something they denied in court , like actually working and claiming they weren’t to get an increased spousal support payment. How difficult is it to track where the device came from once the battery has run out and if it was purchased online and shipped to a john doe? hmmm?

    • Mr. GPS

      @ Dino

      Thanks for writing in. I have to say I am a bit mystified by the thrust of your question. If you think someone is cheating Social Security or on their Workman’s Comp or something like that, why wouldn’t you turn the issue over to the proper law enforcement agency and let it go at that?

      Oh, I see, this looks like an ex-spouse vendetta sort of issue, reading it through again. I’ve been there, done that and had to give her the T-shirt, my friend. I strongly advise you to seek advice from your lawyer on this. If you are still paying spousal support, then you are still under the jurisdiction of the court that granted the divorce and ordered the support. Neither one of you need to even commit crime here, all either of you has to do is bring such an issue to the attention of the court … the one who pisses the judge off first is usually the one who loses. Be the one who _doesn’t_ piss off the judge. I’m not a lawyer but any lawyer will tell you that is good advice.

      No matter who the party you are trying to gather information on, stalking and other invasions of privacy under most State’s laws can be very serious crimes. Typically much more serious than possible welfare or spousal fraud type issues. You want to be very careful not to be committing one crime while trying to stop another.

      Maybe the device will be untraceable, but what if it is traceable to you? You could be setting yourself up for a felony conviction, and even if you prove someone goes some where on a regular basis, you still haven’t proven they are working there. I think your possible reward versus potential risk algorithm is way out of balance.

      A second thing which comes to mind is if you get the information on them and confront them with it, threatening to do something or other to them unless they did something you want them to. Talk to a lawyer, my friend. That is almost certainly a crime … blackmail … under most state’s laws. (and of course any evidence you attain illegally is not going to be admissible in court). You can’t very well march into court and tell the judge, “Here’s the information I gathered (illegally on her activities, Your Honor. That would be a real, true “Homer Simpson” moment.

      You might get them in trouble over their suspected illicit income, but you might have to enjoy your revenge looking out through jail bars .. one crime doesn’t justify another crime.

      Short answer? Perhaps it might be untraceable, however I know several possible ways it could be traced via details I am not going to write about here … and a real cop likely knows more ways than I do. I advise against it.

  • peter

    is it legal to put a gps tracking device on an employ,s car that I do not own with out them knowing in the state of nj

    • Mr. GPS

      @ peter

      Remember I am not an attorney and this is my personal opinion only:


  • chris

    i live in ca and am facing a pending dv charge. the other day i placed a gps on my wifes car. now i am concerned that i made a really poor decision. any thoughts are greatly appreciated.
    – chris

    • Mr. GPS

      @ Chris

      Any opinion of good or bad decision would depend upon the legal aspects of the case, something I am not qualified to answer. If you don’t have an attorney, better get one and then do what s/he tells you to do. In General (not legal advice), if your name is on the title of the car you can track it any time you want to … But tracking people without their knowledge is usually illegal and since there is a court case involved … wow. Again, seek competent legal advice and follow it. This is NOT a place to rey to save a few bucks by doing it yourself.

  • Erika

    How do I find out who put the GPS on my car?

    • Mr. GPS

      @ Erika

      Gosh, Erika, I have no idea how to answer that. There are thousands and thousands of GPS trackers being made by hundreds of manufacturers. Perhaps call the manufacturer and try to find what records they have on who purchased the unit? Is the unit of the type that reports back over the cell phone network – real time? Then there is a subscription being paid and/or a telephone number on a SIM card in the unit which may be helpful in tracking down who has been receiving the data. I truly don’t know any other way.

      • Erika

        Brickhouse and I tried to call and asked same question. They won’t give me any info. I have to get a subpoena from a judge…sigh ok Well I thought I could trace the serial numbers or some thing. I lead a very boring life and for the life of me can not understand. Well thank you for your time and if you find anything out please let me know. Be blessed

        • Mr. GPS

          @ Erica

          Well here’s the thing regarding getting information out of Brickhouse, or other dealers. If the situation was reversed and _you_ were the one being looked for, just because you bought a tracking unit, wouldn’t _you_ want them to protect your privacy? The only fair and legally safe way for them to handle this is to let the courts decide … just as if someone wanted to tap your phone.

          Your life is obviously not boring to someone, and from this distance it’s hard to tell. I strongly advise you to contact your police department and file a complaint. They can get a court order very quickly if they are convinced a woman is being stalked and might be in danger. Don’t fiddle around doing amateur sleuthing, go to the people whose job it is. There’s some reason someone spent money on this unit and probably committed a crime installing it … so while I don’t want to be an alarmist it would be foolish not to realize you may be in some danger. What is that they say about “safe” and “sorry”?

  • Judy

    We deliver the newspaper. We are considered independent contractors. The newspaper is making us carry phone that is tracking us. We have no choice in this matter. We were told the device was to determine if one of the products we deliver had been delivered yet so they could follow up with marketing. We have just found out that the tracking device is being used for much more than that. It tracks the route we take, What time we reach and how long we spend at each stop, If we stop for a bathroom break, ect. It actually tracks our every move. All this has been done without our knowledge and as I said we have not been given a choice if we wish to carry this device. We either carry it or we will not get paid for our delivery service. Is the newspaper illegal in making us carry this device?

    • Mr. GPS

      @ Judy

      Thanks for writing in. Your question is interesting in two different ways.

      First, it is a general rule that an employer can always track employee’s performance on the job. Even given that, it’s good business practice and even required by some jurisdictions that the employer give notice before tracking. Doing it the way they seem to be proceeding is silly, but possibly not illegal .. again, for employees.

      But you state and they contend that you are an independent contractor. And this is the form of business engaged in by well over 99% of news paper carriers, especially “Motor Carriers” as you seem to be. It is possibly illegal to monitor and control independent contractors to the level you are describing.

      But a few things to keep in mind.

      There is a strong legal argument that the contract holder can monitor performance to insure customer satisfaction and even employee safety and corporate liability. Some of their reasons may sound pretty bogus to you, but it would be a devil of a job (not to mention expensive as hell) to argue each one out in court.

      The second thing I noticed though is more of a legal question far beyond any GPS questions. Are you really independent contractors? Typically a motor carrier buys his/here papers wholesale from the newspaper , delivers them, collects from customers and pockets the difference after paying expenses.

      Yet something you say makes me think the newspaper is paying you a fee per delivery. Am I right on this? If so there’s a strong possibility you are NOT independent contractors, no matter what they call you.

      Hate to say it. because I’m like broken record, but there are several complex legal issues here … you need an attorney if you want to actually do anything but bitch about this situation.

  • vicki

    could you give a ballpark answer to this .my husband and i agoing through a divorice.i have already found 1 tracker on my car. and i do mean my car it is in my name only. i have found another one on it . i turned the first one in to my lawer. i left message to her about the second one. nothing happened about the first one.can you get the person whos phone was used with the tracker. for trasspassing. it was my husbands cousin.

  • s. peter

    This question is for the Maryland area. Is it illegal to remove a gps system in your car if your still paying on it?

    • Mr. GPS

      s. peter,

      Thanks for contributing. The heart of your question is, “what does your payment contract say”? If you signed a contract when you bought your car and that contract allows the bank or finance agency to track the car, then most likely it’s not legal to remove it until the loan is paid in full. If there is no contract requiring you to keep the unit there, you are most likely legally safe in removing it. It all depends on what you signed up for.

  • Sara

    Hi. I read your article and answered all the “things to consider” to decide if it’s illegal for someone to stick a gps tracker to my car.
    My answers:
    Yes it’s my car. I own it. It’s an old car. Paid off no dealer attached to it.
    I’m not related to the person trying to track my car. Nor is the person an ex husband or boyfriend even.
    It’s not a cop or investigater who is placing the tracker on my car.
    I haven’t committed any crime that would justify a tracker being placed on my car. I haven’t committed any crime ever.
    It’s not my employer that wants to place the tracker on my car.
    The tracker would be put on my car in a public place most likely since access to my secured garage is not really attainable, but this isn’t totally not possible. Meaning the person who wants it on my car could possibly gain access to my garage and place it on my car.
    If the person is able to get to my car anywhere They find my car parked, the tracker would be placed on the outside of my car.
    I live in California.

    The tracker hasn’t been placed on my car …yet… I’m wondering IF the person succeeded at doing this and I find the tracker attached to my car, do you think based on my answers that this would be illegal of them to have done? Like could I press charges you think? I understand you are not a lawyer but what would be your professional opinion?
    Thank you for your time.

    • Mr. GPS

      Hi Sara,

      Thanks for writing. Your questions are interesting but frankly I am at a loss to give any real answer here.

      The actual circumstances of how the devise might be attached are so open that it may or may not be legal. But more importantly is the question of what you plan to do about it?

      There’s also a huge difference in what might happen … if this happens. Let’s suppose this mystery person does place a device on your car and the facts of him/her placing it are in fact illegal. What will you do? Report it to the police department having jurisdiction over the place where the alleged crime happened> Do you think, realistically, the police are going to take action? What is the outcome you desire? They certainly aren’t going to incarcerate this person for life.

      Are you going to be able to prove who committed the act? (remember you have to have proof, not just a personal suspicion). And then what? Perhaps a misdemeanor charge and a tongue lashing from the judge and 6 months probation? Let’s assume I am the person you sus[ect and one day you find a device on your car … how are you going to show proof it was me? Absent continual video surveillance or my fingerprints or some actual forensic evidence, you may _know_ it was me, but if the police question me I am going to laugh at them as say, “prove it”.

      It sounds to me you have a real fear here and I would urge you to put GS tracking in second place and your personal safety first. California has some of the most strict-laws and interpretations of “stalking” in the US. I think you should consult with an attorney and go over yur concerns in privacy (not on public interne sites) and take legal advice … because there are way more ways to harass or even hurt another person than just GPS tracking. Treat the disease not the symptoms.

  • Jay

    I want to track my children. My soon to be ex is Chinese, and has declared an intent to take our children out of the country. The judge ordered supervised visitation. She refused to participate for six months, but now has regular visitation. She has no regard for the judges perception of her. She testified that she quit her job to avoid paying support, but she now claims she lost it due to PTSD. She filed a complaint against the judge with the state;s Attorney General. She removed all assets from her name months after the divorce proceedings had begun.
    She had me arrested for domestic violence. I told the police that it was fabricated to no avail (although the case has yet to be tried). Now, I have learned that the Chinese Consular General will restore Chinese citizenship in cases of domestic violence, and even extend it to the children…if you are not settled (i.e. no property rights), and have documentation to support abuse. My 3 year old mentioned getting a passport, and New York City.
    I want to track the kids, but they are so young getting the device to remain on is unlikely, and if she has any knowledge she will simply remove the tracker. I would like to surreptitiously put something in her car, but it legally questionable. Advice?

    • Mr. GPS

      Hi Jay,

      Thanks for writing in. I am afraid I can’t help much, however. There is no GPS I am aware of that you could expect to always stay in place on small children, plus if there were, what good would it do you? You need legal help more than you need GPS help, in my view. If you aren’t taking legal advise already, get a lawyer. You have to have some legal order in lace that would restrict her taking possession of the children, forbids her taking them out of the country, or out of a court-defined area, etc. Sorry but I don’t think technology can solve your legal issues at the moment.

  • Alicia

    Okay so my soon to be ex husband is a repo man and does the repossessions for the car lot where I got my car… my car is paid up to date is it legal for him to be pulling gps on my car still?

    • Mr. GPS

      Hi Alicia,

      The answer to your question, in my layperson’s opinion is NO. I believe it is illegal for him to be tracking your car, and quite possibly illegal,under your state’s laws against “stalking” or harassment. Now, what are you going to do about it?

      • Mr. GPS


        At the risk of sounding like a persnickety old man (which I am), just how far behind on your payments _should_ you be before the lien holder starts looking for his car? Just asking you know …..

  • tyrone

    I live in AZ. I recently purchased a car and making payments on the automobile. I was forced to move from my home by landlords. I didn’t have a new address to provide to my car company. As I finally go a place as of a new address I was going to call my car company to provide them with my new address as when I have everything into place. No one have my new address. No one. I was goin outside to have a smoke and there comes a guy from my car company. Asking myself how did he find me. I didn’t ask him how he knew where I reside now. Later that day I went into the SUV and notice a Tracking device tucked way invisible to the naked eye. So I decided to slice the wires. I know my payment is a month and half behind. This device was install without my permission.

  • Jennifer

    How would I look for a GPS device on my car? What are some of the options as far as installation goes?

    Thank you

    • Mr. GPS

      There are so many options due to type and size of the devices and the skill of the installer that I really can’t help much. One very common on some cars is behind the radio … ask a tech in a car audio shop if you particular radio/stereo is easy or hard to remove and look. Another place is under your dash in a little computer connection called your “OBD II” port. (say O-B-D-2) This is on modern cars and light trucks for technicians to hook diagnostic tools into your cars systems. Any name-brand auto parts store will typically read your OBD II port for indicated faults displayed … usually this is free. If the parts store tech finds a shiny little GPS box plugged in there, well then you know, don’t you?

  • Theresa

    Ive done alittle research on gps attachment to track a financed vehicle. It should be known to the purchaser..and if the device attached has an fcc number on must have an application approved with the fcc to use it. My question may seem deserving of a common sense answer but..when an auto dealership removes a tracking device from one vehicle and places it on another it law that an application be filed linking that fcc numbered device with the new vehicle listing buyer info for the collection af data on that vehicle/buyer?

    • Mr. GPS

      Well Theresa In my layman’s opinion (bit with 20 years in the GPS industry in one form or another) my opinion is you are barking up the wrong tree. Yes each device has an FCC number which shows rhe manufacturer complied with FCC regs in the manufacture of the device, but the FCC does not track or regulate individual boxes in any way. I could be wrong but I don’t think so.

  • ai

    I am 18 years old. My dad is technically the owner of the car but no one uses it except for me. I recently found out he installed a gps tracking device on my car without telling me. I took it out without telling him that I found it.

    Is this legal? I feel like this is a complete violation of privacy, but I don’t know what the legal circumstances behind this is since I am his child and it is his car–except don’t I have rights because I am an adult?

    • Mr. GPS

      @ al

      Thanks for writing in, Al. But I hope you weren’t looking for anything earthshaking about “your rights”. I am not a lawyer, so this is personal opinion only, not legal advice but the basic law in all the states I know of allows the owner of a car to track that car when and if s/he chooses to do so. You could, of course, actually “emancipate” yourself, get a job, buy your own car and then YOU would certainly have rights regarding anyone else tracking it, but as long as you choose to use your dad’s car, no matter what your age, I don’t see how his actions could be construed as illegal.

      Speaking of legalities, the GPS tracking unit was his property. What did you do with it? Anything other than handing it back to him might well be considered theft, perhaps? Drive safe, be well and grow up happy, not spending your days “stewing” about your “rights”. Life’s too short to live in anger and frustration.

  • freeman

    WHat about on my daughter’s boyfriend car while they are out on a date in AZ for just one time less than 12 hrs?

    AZ stalking law states this is illegal “(ii) Using any electronic, digital or global positioning system device to surveil a specific person or a specific person’s internet or wireless activity continuously for twelve hours or more or on two or more occasions over a period of time, however short, without authorization.”

    Seems i have some leeway here if I’m afraid for my daughter and have never threatened this boy. I know you said another parent’s child but …..

    • Mr. GPS

      @ freeman

      Interesting “catch” in the law there, freeman. I’d say (in my layman’s opinion) you’re probably safe in monitoring under these conditions, And frankly, I probably would do it myself … but I’d also probably seek a lawyer’s advice before I did it. $100/$200 consultation fee could possibly save your thousands in court costs and other legal fees later if you actually did something the young man could sue you for.

      Here’s a thought. Instead of doing something sneaky and behind their backs (even if it is legal) have you ever though of having a face-to-face with the young man and asking him to give you permission? His answer and his reaction to the request might tell you even more than a GPS would, or so Mr. GPS opines.

  • Dan Gaughan

    In the state of pa can a spouse legally put a gps tracker on the other spouses vehicle if they are NOT on the lease of that vehicle?

    • Mr. GPS

      Hi Dan,

      Thanks for writing in. In my non-legal, layman’s opinion, most likely this would NOT be legal. If the lease is in your spouse’s name only this is functionally equivalent to her owning the car outright, and you likely have no right to track it.

      Bit, as always, you should consult a lawyer, becuase the relatively small consulting fee could possibly save you thousands and thousands in potential future legal costs. And, a good lawyer, may have a strategy that would be legal.