The Legality and Admissibility of GPS Tracking

By Adrian Cruce

If you want to know where a person or asset is, where it has been or where it is headed, there is no easier way than using GPS trackers. GPS can help parents locate their children or business owners track and optimize their fleets’ routes. Even with the widespread acceptance that we are always being tracked, especially now that we take our cell phones everywhere, placing a GPS tracker on someone or their property has some legal ramifications. Below, we will look at the circumstances in which it is acceptable (or not) to track someone or their property, and if and when this data can be used in a court of law.

Using GPS Trackers

It is now easier than ever to purchase a GPS tracker and have it installed. Definitely much easier than with industrial solutions like voyage passage planning software. For people who want to do this, you can only place a tracker on yourself, on property that you or your business owns, children who are under the age of 18, and on property where it is allowed with the aim of legal repossession in the case of late loan repayments or similar.

You cannot use a GPS tracker if you do not own the property you wish to track and you cannot track a partner in their car. There are lots of legal ramifications for doing this and you might even end up in jail or paying a huge fine, depending on the laws in your locality.

Admissibility in Court

Once smartphones became commonplace and GPS trackers became easier to obtain, the number of cases and lawsuits touching on the use of the data obtained from these devices as evidence has exploded. The supreme court has already ruled that GPS data cannot be used as evidence unless a warrant was obtained before the data was collected. The warrant must have been obtained after a suspect was identified or if probable cause for the commission of a crime had already been established at the time.

Legal Recourse If Your GPS Data Is Used

If you are embroiled in a case or lawsuit where your GPS data is presented as evidence, you should call an attorney The first thing the attorney will do is determine if there was a warrant issued before your GPS data was collected. If there was no warrant issued, the case is likely to be dismissed if the GPS data was the main piece of evidence.

When there was a warrant issued, the attorney will try to find out the circumstances under which it was issued. If there are any discrepancies, they have a shot at getting the GPS data thrown out. If both of these things do not go as planned, then the other option is to look for other ways to get the GPS data thrown out.

Assuming you are not being sued or do not have a case against you and instead learn that someone collected your GPS data without permission, you can always sue for breach of privacy.


The collection and use of GPS data as evidence is a slippery slope but it is a necessary evil if we want to keep our society safe. If you are involved in a case or lawsuit where GPS data is used, ensure that it was obtained properly to reduce the chances of the case being thrown out. If you are the one being sued, you can also get your attorney to try to get the GPS data thrown out.