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Federal Law Proposed to Require Warrants for GPS Data

03.22.13

Privacy of GPS data location in the US may improve if Congress passes the proposed bill that would require court-order search warrants before law enforcement can obtain GPS data. Although a similar bill was introduced in 2011 it failed to become law, however the pervasive use of GPS by law enfor cement has created a higher level of interest for the public.

IDG News Service reported that Oregon Senator Ron Wyden who sponsored the bill in the Senate and made these comments:

The GPS Act provides law enforcement with a clear mandate for when to obtain a warrant for the geolocation information of an American. It also provides much-needed legal clarity for commercial service providers who often struggle to balance the privacy of their customers with requests for information from law enforcement.

IDG News Service also reported that the following groups endorsed the GPS Act:

  • American Civil Liberties Union,
  • Americans for Tax Reform’s DigitalLiberty.net,
  • Competitive Enterprise Institute, Electronic Frontier Foundation, and
  • Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA)

It will be interesting to see the debate in Congress and what happens to these bills which potentially would improve uniformity of GPS data which is currently controlled by state law, and various states are considering similar legislation.

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