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Are GPS Tracking Devices Legal?

GPS tracking devices

Is It Illegal To Put GPS Tracking Device On Car?


The short answer? Yes and no. The longer answer? It depends on who you are, who owns the vehicle, and whether or not you have a warrant, as well as the laws of individual states.

Let’s start with the easy guideline: It’s entirely legal to place a GPS tracking device on a vehicle or asset which you own. Beyond that, it gets more complicated.

Similarly, you can generally track your children, provided they are under 18 and not emancipated. You cannot, however, generally legal track a vehicle owned by someone else, such as a vehicle driven by a significant other (provided you do not own the vehicle).

From a law enforcement standpoint, warrants are required to legal place a tracking device, though numerous court cases have tried to fight that current standard. On the other side of law enforcement: If you find a GPS tracking device that was placed there by law enforcement, it is illegal for you to remove it.

As a result, when it comes to a hidden GPS tracker for car tracking and whether or not putting it on a vehicle or even removing it from your vehicle is legal, please do your due diligence. Learn the laws of your state. Consider consulting law enforcement officials or a local attorney.


How Can I Tell If There Is A GPS tracker On My Car?

Most likely, you cannot. You can, however, do a thorough search for any hidden GPS tracker for car tracking that might be hidden in your vehicle. For active GPS tracking devices that rely on cellular networks to share data, you may be able to use a bug sweeper to detect an electronic signature; as the sweeper buzzes, for instance, you know you’re close to something that is transmitting. For passive devices that store data until later retrieval, however, you’ll have to simply search carefully. For suggestions on how to best search for a GPS tracker, you should check out our top 10 places where to hide a GPS tracker.

In general, though, remember that because most hidden GPS tracker for car tracking devices are small and consequently easy to hide, even small spaces are worth investigating. Similarly, consider using a bug detector to find a tracker, which can find many active trackers that might be transmitting. Don’t forget to check the data port, as it is one of the easiest places to hide a GPS tracking device. Finally, don’t be afraid to seek professional help. Especially when it comes to devices that may need to be wired in, to an untrained eye necessary parts may look like a tracking device and a hidden GPS tracker for car tracking might look like something that needs to be. As a result, auto technicians that specialize in electrical systems are well worth hiring to investigate.

Can a GPS Tracker Be Blocked?

Yes, though doing so may or may not be legal and may or may not be effective. [This is where we offer a disclaimer: This is not legal advice, nor can it be. If you have found a GPS tracking device or a hidden GPS tracker for car tracking on your vehicle or suspect there may be one in or on your vehicle, you should consult local law enforcement, an attorney, or both, so as to best not run afoul of the law.]

For instance, GPS blockers can be an effective strategy—though their use may be illegal, depending on your particular states’ laws and whether or not the tracker was placed by law enforcement.

Other options include finding the hidden GPS tracking device and placing it in a metal container, which can both reflect and absorb the signal, courtesy conducive properties. As a result, copper and silver containers, for instance, are great ways to disrupt the signal.

Similarly, mobile phone jammers can be an effective strategy for disrupting active trackers (though they will also jam your own cell phone, so keep that in mind), as can using a GPS spoofing gadget (though spoofers are frequently illegal, so again do your due diligence). However, no monthly fee GPS trackers, or data loggers, do not transmit data and therefore can not be detected by a GPS sweeper.

Can Aluminum Foil Block A GPS Signal?

The short answer? Yes and no. Aluminum and other conductors can be used to create what is called a Faraday cage. Done correctly, aluminum can disrupt a GPS tracking device signal and prevent it from getting a signal out—just like the metal box approach we referenced previously.

You can make a Faraday cage around your own phone to demonstrate this—even using aluminum foil. Simply grab a sheet or two of aluminum foil, fold the aluminum to completely cover your phone, and then trying calling your phone from a different number. You’ll note that your phone does not ring—because the aluminum has disrupted the signal. And the same principle works with GPS tracking device signals.


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