HAUPPAUGE, N.Y.Â (CBSNewYork) â Â It’s as easy as snap and track. For around $300, you can buy a GPS and secretly track someoneâs whereabouts.
But as CBS 2âs Carolyn Gusoff reported, Suffolk County Legislator Kate Browning calls that stalking and was shocked to learn itâs legal in New York State. She says itâs a form of spying and a dangerous invasion of privacy.READ MORE: New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, Republican Candidate Jack Ciattarelli Face Off In Fiery Debate
âItâs unlawful for the police department to put a GPS tracking on a vehicle, but itâs not for a private individual,â Browning said.
Browning is introducing a bill that would make covert GPS tracking a crime, outraged that a Suffolk County assemblyman was recently tracked by a political foe.
Even worse, she says, are cases of domestic violence. According to experts, most abuse victims have been spied on via GPS.
âThe person comes in and says, âI feel like Iâm being paranoid because my partner or my ex-partner knows things about me that there is no way can they know,â and we say âaha!ââ Director of the Suffolk County Against Domestic Violence, Colleen Merlo, said.
At Vehicle Tracking Solutions in Commack, where GPS tracking is installed in fleets of cars, their policy is to sell only to the car owner.
âWe do get calls to track an ex-girlfriend or ex-wife and our question is who owns the asset? Who owns the vehicle?â John Cunningham Jr. said, president of Vehicle Tracking Solutions.READ MORE: Teacher Stephanie Edmonds On Why She's Not Getting The COVID Vaccine, Despite Mandate: 'The Hardest Decision I've Ever Made'
But Cunningham does say business owners should keep the right to hide GPS devices in cars they own.
âAny business owner should have the ability to know where their equipment is at all times,â he said.
Childrenâs advocates also say donât take away parentsâ rights to track their children for safety.
âItâs a very important tool and we donât want to take that away,â Laura Ahearn said, director of Parents For Megan’s Law.
Browning says she hopes Suffolk County will âdo the right thingâ when her bill comes up for debate next month, which also nudges the state to make secret GPS tracking illegal.
Similar bills were recently introduced in the New Jersey and New York State Assembly.
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