The law does its best to avoid “grey areas” where it’s not objectively defined whether or not something is or is not illegal, but as technology develops, law must change and adapt to what technology allows us to do. The GPS tracking device is one such technology that has been gaining popularity and decreasing in price for some time now, and while the law tries to catch up with technological advancement, grey areas will come and go.
The relationship between GPS technology and stalking has always been a concern for law makers and law enforcement, but until very recently, it was legal in the state of New York to attach a GPS tracker to someone’s car and track them – even if they weren’t aware of it. Obviously, this raised some concerns, and the legal definition of stalking has been altered to include technological tracking of any kind, leading to the arrest of one Westchester County man who has been stalking his girlfriend with a GPS tracking solution for some time.
New York State Police recently apprehended this Westchester man, Kenneth Martin, who has been accused of hiding a GPS tracking device on his ex-girlfriend’s car to track her whereabouts with his smartphone. Upon further inspection, Lt. Michael Drake of the New York State Police confirmed that a vehicle GPS tracking system had been installed. The system itself cost only $300, a relatively affordable sum, and many smaller and less expensive options are available, highlighting the importance of the new laws put in place to protect people from unwanted tracking.
Are you worried that you may be the target of a stalker? Here are some ways to stay safe.
– Know the law and when you should contact authorities.
– Cooperate with law enforcement and prosecutors.
– Share information about the stalker so coworkers and friends can keep an eye out.
– Collect evidence to be presented in court against the stalker. Keep it somewhere safe and hidden.
The GPS tracker was originally found when the ex-girlfriend in question took her BMW to be inspected. The mechanic working on the vehicle discovered the $300 tracking device and immediately informed the owner of the vehicle who contacted state police to have the tracker removed properly. By the time the tracking device was removed, Martin had reportedly been tracking his ex-girlfriend for a full two months.
While this case is one of the newest cases of “electronic stalking” to be enforced, it’s certainly not the first to occur. While the provision was being considered, it was found that 1 in 4 instances of stalking involved some form of electronic tracking device, highlighting the importance of this issue.
How could a GPS manufacturer lower the rate of GPS-related crime? How can someone protect themselves from this form of stalking? Share your ideas in the comments section below!