Using a GPS device to track someone’s whereabouts or their vehicle without consent would be against the law, under legislation signed into law by Governor Scott Walker this week. The legislation from state Sen. Jerry Petrowski (R-Marathon) and Rep. Adam Neylon (R-Pewaukee) is intended to provide more protections for victims from stalking and harassment.
Petrowski says the increasing ease of access to tracking technology prompted action to protect and empower victims of stalking so that they can end this invasion of their privacy. “This just puts some precautionary language in there to protect people, because it could be for stalking, it could be for a variety of things, and to make it punishable if you are putting a GPS device on somebody’s car without their knowledge.”
There are several exceptions for law enforcement and for parents keeping track of their minor children, as well as for businesses to keep track of vehicles they own that are used by employees. Police can still get a court order and businesses can install GPS devices on their own fleet of vehicles.
Petrowski says the law had to catch up with technology to help protect people’s privacy. “I think because technology has just grown through the years, that this is really something that was needed to mainly protect the privacy of people that have a car.”
The GPS law covers all devices used to track people without their knowledge, including cell phones.