As MN lawmakers move to block GPS trackers on interlock devices we must question why GPS is necessary on a vehicle which already requires the owner to use a breathalyzer before driving anywhere. There are a number of reasons we should consider GPS trackers on the interlock devices. You must consider who is being targeted and why. Are the constitutional rights of people being violated? Let’s address the issue of GPS on these devices from a legal, ethical, privacy and constitutional view.
When a driver has been convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol on one or more occasions the court often issues a court order to have interlock devices in the vehicle of the person convicted. This device allows the driver to use their vehicle when they blow into the device and do not register as having alcohol in their breath. The court deemed it necessary to monitor the convicted driver’s alcohol consumption before they are allowed to drive. The device allows the driver to drive to work, doctors and anywhere else as long as they are not drinking alcohol.
GPS on Interlock Devices
According to the MN Department of Public Safety (DPS), the interlock devices installed since 2011 have had active GPS. The GPS capability of these devices allows the tracing of every location the vehicle is driven.
Who pays for the device?
- The convicted DWI/DUI driver is required to take his own time and money to have a court-ordered interlock device installed in his vehicle.
- State taxpayers pay the bill for the defense of the GPS interlock device users, whose personal information and movements are tracked and recorded.
- MN representatives are calling for hearings on the constitutionality of the GPS and recorded information, which taxpayers shoulder the financial burden.
- Lawsuits are starting regarding the GPS capabilities of the interlock device and taxpayers, again, are the ones paying the bill of defending the cases.
What rights do the GPS violate?
- First of all, the drivers were expected to pay for the installation of the interlock device without the benefit of knowing their privacy would be violated by tracking and recording their every move.
- The fourth amendment of the Constitution protects all citizens from unlawful and unnecessary violations of privacy.
- The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the case, Jones vs. U.S., GPS tracking by the government is a violation of the Fourth Amendment except in very a small amount of cases.
Minnesota Representatives Moving for Hearings
State Rep. Peggy Scott, (R) Andover and State Rep. John Lesch (DFL) St Paul are two Minnesota Representatives concerned and ready to come to action to disclose and stop the GPS tracking and recordings of private information. The first legislative week in January a hearing of Civil Law and Data Practices Committee is scheduled to possibly start the process of blocking the GPS tracking of the interlock devices in Minnesota. DPS believes the collection of the GPS information is legal.
As Minnesota residents watch the GPS tracking question play out in court, you must wonder if the devices can be used without the GPS tracking. Most would agree that the interlock device is necessary for many situations where some convicted of DWI/DUI should not be allowed to drive while intoxicated. It should also be considered as a way to allow them to go to work and be productive contributors to society without being more of a burden on society. All citizens of MN and the USA have the constitution as their protector of basic human rights. Privacy is something this country holds dear, so stay tuned to the outcome to the lawmakers of MN move to block GPS on interlock devices.