9 Mar

Oklahoma Officials Putting an End to GPS Stalking

The simple fact that you can attach a GPS tracking device to anything in the world and glean useful data from the unit is what makes the technology so useful. Unfortunately, it’s that very same limitless versatility that allowed criminals to misuse the technology, sometimes tracking someone without their consent. Until very recently, doing so wasn’t considered stalking, but with recent advancements in law, strides are being taken to discourage and eliminate the abuse of this powerful technology.

GPS units (especially those manufactured by Bofan, a leading GPS manufacturer) are extremely sophisticated piece of technology, and can easily be enhanced with other equipment. A single unit can monitor position, the levels of any liquid in the vehicle, who’s driving the vehicle, how fast it’s going, how often it stops and for how long, and limitless other variables. GPS units used to help athletes train can monitor as many as 400 different variables, updating them in real-time.

A GPS tracking solution doesn’t have to be a bulky piece of equipment, though. One could very easily plant a small, inexpensive tracking device on a person or their vehicle, monitoring their position easily from their smartphone with incredible accuracy. That’s why it’s important that laws limiting the criminal use of GPS trackers are passed, and in several states, they have been.

Oklahoma recently voted 83-2 on a bill modeled after a similar bill passed in New York. This bill would outlaw the criminal use of GPS technologies to stalk or monitor the position of someone without their consent. Some of the same exceptions made by other states were also included in the bill, allowing law enforcement officials to track suspects and allowing parents to track their minor children.

States that have already outlawed or passed bills to outlaw stalking with an electronic tracking device include…

  • New York
  • Wisconsin
  • Colorado
  • New Jersey

Punishments for violating the law vary state by state, but it’s typically in line with common stalking charges. In Oklahoma, for instance, stalkers that utilize GPS are persecuted in the same way as “old-fashioned” stalkers. The first violation is a misdemeanor and could land you a year in jail while the second offense is a felony.

How do you feel GPS technology could be better utilized and controlled by the government? Do you think that electronically tracking someone should be considered “stalking”? Let us know in the comments section below!

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