The iTrail from SleuthGear has been one of the leading passive GPS tracking devices since its introduction to the market in 2010. People have used this compact device to keep track of children, spouses, company vehicles, personal vehicles, and more. But the question of legality is frequently on the minds of users. Some of the more common questions include:
- Can I track my own vehicle without my spouse’s consent?
- To my children have the legal right to prevent me from tracking them?
- Can I track employee usage of my company-owned vehicles?
Because of the variation of state law it’s hard to say with any certainty what is legally allowed outside of tracking your own personal property. But there are some general rules consistently upheld by the courts in America. Let’s review those general rules here.
Your Minor Children
It is perfectly legal to require a child to carry the iTrail device on his or her person when leaving the house. As the child’s legal guardian you are responsible for ensuring his safety and good behavior at all times. If you, as a parent, decide the iTrail is suitable to help you accomplish this, you can require it to be carried. One possible exception would be the case of divorced parents where one has custody and the other has only visitation rights.
The visiting parent may not be able to utilize a GPS tracking device without the consent of the custodial parent. This would be up to the courts to decide, in any case. If you are not a custodial parent you should probably check with your attorney before asking a visiting child to carry the iTrail.
Your Personal Vehicles
The courts have consistently held that vehicle owners can place GPS tracking devices on their cars for any purpose. It does not matter who’s driving the vehicle, it’s your decision to make. You can legally track your teen drivers, friends or family members borrowing your vehicles, or even a spouse you suspect of being unfaithful. Any personal property that you own is subject to tracking at your discretion.
You may want to be careful of tracking a spouse’s vehicle if you are separated or in the midst of divorce proceedings, even if you own the car he or she is driving. This could be construed as harassment by a court, something that could land you in serious legal trouble.
Since company vehicles are the property of the business, owners and managers are free to track vehicle usage with the iTrail. The only thing you need to be concerned about is whether or not the laws in your state require you to inform your employees. Before you employ a GPS tracker in this way you might want to contact your attorney for advice.
Just as a side note, it might be wise to inform employees even if state law allows you keep the iTrail hidden. Letting workers know you’re paying attention may serve as motivation to follow the rules.