GPS tracking: Invasion of privacy and intrusion during isolation

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Recent decisions in federal courts in Maryland have made it clear that parties who covertly use GPS trackers to monitor the movements of their ex-spouses and romantic partners can subject the tracker user to a lawsuit for damages. Judge Paula Xinis wrote an opinion brief in Demo v Kirksey et al. largely denying motions to dismiss such a lawsuit.

This case involved a trial between the parents of a minor child, which also included defendants who were investigators and lawyers representing the stalking domestic partner. A tracer was concealed in a diaper bag accompanying a minor child, who was with the plaintiff at regular intervals in accordance with custody arrangements negotiated between the parents. Another was placed in the Complainant’s vehicle.

This meant to quote Judge Xinis “The diaper bag and vehicle tracking software allowed for 24/7 monitoring for six continuous months.”

This precipitated the lawsuit for “intrusion into solitary confinement,” harassment under Maryland criminal laws, and violations of Pennsylvania wiretapping laws.

The case presented undecided new issues under the laws of Maryland and Pennsylvania, both as to whether GPS tracking as it occurred in this case breached the plaintiff’s reasonable expectation privacy and applicable state laws.

Ultimately, Justice Xinis analyzed recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions regarding “an individual’s reasonable expectation zone of privacy” and concluded that the follow-up described in that case was liable to prosecution because the “defendants intentionally invaded Demo’s privacy”.

So GPS trackers beware, you may have to pay for your intrusion during your isolation. Learn more at: https://www.maryland-law.com/library/gps-trackers-and-invasion-of-privacy-time-to-pay-up-.cfm

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