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Story Archives: Riser crafts GPS spy bill
|Riser crafts GPS spy bill|
In Louisiana and most other states it's legal to spy on people by using Global Positioning Systems — found these days in many cellular telephones and vehicles — to track their movements, but that could soon change.
State Sen. Neil Riser, a Republican who represents District 32, has authored a bill to prohibit electronic tracking of the movement of a person without their consent.
Georgia has a similar law and Louisiana would be the second state to protect residents' privacy by banning GPS spying, Riser said.
"Your first instinct would lead you to think that this is already against the law, but it's not," he said. "It's very easy to track people this way."
The bill, currently assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee, would ban individuals from spying on people by using GPS, but would keep the option open for law enforcement officials and the military.
There are other exception, as well.
The owner of a vehicle would be allowed to keep track of it when someone else is driving, parents could still keep track of their children and people with certain medical conditions could be monitored.
A lessor or lessee of a vehicle could track a vehicle if they get consent from the person driving it.
Services like OnStar would be allowed to continue to use GPS to track movement and passengers in vehicles could still be tracked if they are riding in a vehicle where the use of tracking devices is permissible.
Riser said the bill, SB 399, is a natural follow up to the Louisiana Anti-Caller ID Spoofing Act, which he introduced and helped enact last year.
The act made it a crime to disguise telephone numbers as another number to "mislead, defraud or deceive" recipients of calls.
Most likely the law wouldn't stop the federal government from using GPS technology in cell phones or other devices to spy under provisions found in the Patriot Act, Riser said.
"My understanding of the reading of the federal statute is they can do just about what they want to do concerning communications," he said.