A woman who had gone through a divorce a year earlier took her car to the mechanic, who found a GPS device that the woman’s ex-husband had installed–a GPS device that still had 25 to 50 percent of its battery left, which meant that it had only been on the car for a few weeks. The woman knew that her ex had been tracking her, but she did not know how. She had gone out of town and stayed at friend’s houses in an attempt to escape her ex, who was physically abusive to her. He ended up knowing where she was at all times because of the GPS device, which, if the car was owned jointly during the marriage, he had a legal right to install a GPS device on. While bizarre, particularly because there was evidence of abuse, this type of spousal stalking is legal. Stalking cases such as this have become more prevalent with technology as ex’s attempt to control or monitor the other party. A San Jose family law attorney may be able to shed light on whether such tracking measures are legal or not.

California’s Gray Area Law

In California, it is legal to put a GPS tracker on a car as long as the owner gives consent. For jointly owned vehicles, it is generally legal, though the law is somewhat less clear. Personal investigators are using GPS devices frequently to track their targets. A husband may wish to track his wife or ex-wife, and because he jointly owned the vehicle and gave his consent, the majority of personal investigators feel legally entitled to use GPS, according to an investigation done by one media outlet. Of 20 personal investigators that were contacted about this, 16 replied and only one refused to use GPS in this regard.

Installing Spyware

It is illegal to install spyware on a spouse, girlfriend, boyfriend, or ex’s phone or computer. While it is legal for parents to install GPS tracking and spyware software on their children’s devices, it is not legal to do so with an adult. The goal of tracking a spouse’s or ex’s movements vary. For some, it is to control their partner or ex-partner. For others, they may wish to prove infidelity or locate hidden assets. Spyware can detect all types of activity, from bank account access to keystrokes.

Contact a San Jose Family Lawyer at Once

Has your spouse been using illegal spyware to track you and your electronic movements? Is an ex stalking you electronically with GPS installed on your phone or car? We urge you to take action against their possibly illegal actions by talking to a San Jose family law attorney at the office of Gemma V. Reyes today.

Sources:

https://www.npr.org/sections/alltechconsidered/2018/01/04/554564010/i-know-where-you-ve-been-digital-spying-and-divorce-in-the-smartphone-age?utm_source=twitter.com&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=npr&utm_term=nprnews&utm_content=20180104

http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/technology/2012/11/gps_trackers_to_monitor_cheating_spouses_a_legal_gray_area_for_private_investigators.html