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Senator Plans to Introduce New GPS Tracking Law

Senator Plans to Introduce New GPS Tracking Law

Posted on 31st Jul 2012 @ 11:57 AM

gps.jpgSen. Ron Wyden of Oregon says he has made it his intention to introduce an amendment to a law that would require law enforcement to get a proper warrant before being allowed to place a GPS tracking device on a person or their vehicle.  The original law was put in place to establish guidelines regarding the digital tracking and monitoring of laptops, cell phones, etc.

The bill is called the Geolocation Privacy and Surveillance Act, and has remained mostly untouched since Wyden first introduced it last year with Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah.

The GPS Act aims to establish more guidelines regarding the usage of GPS tracking devices by police and other law enforcement officers to track the movements of a suspect. Additionally, the amendment to the law would apply rules to software companies that would tell them when they should or should not provide information to the police.

Wyden says that this new amendment makes sense and that it would help to protect people’s rights. He says that it is important that police and law enforcement officers know that there are restrictions to collecting data and the changing ways of information collection in this new digital age.

“Because the law has not kept up with the pace of innovation, it makes sense to include the GPS Act’s requirement that law enforcement obtain a warrant for GPS tracking in the Cyber security Act. This will protect Americans’ location information from misuse,” Wyden said in a statement. “Part of the goal of the cyber security legislation is to update rules for information collection and privacy for the digital age, which is what the GPS Act is all about.”

The Supreme Court ruled this year that police need to obtain a warrant before attaching a GPS device to a person’s car, but didn’t specify whether law enforcement would need to procure the same evidence when tracking a person’s movements via other types of geo-location devices, such as a smart phone.

Since the Supreme Court ruling, Wyden has argued his bill is needed to clear up that confusion and ensure people’s information is still protected with the advent of new location technology.

Wyden plans to file the amendment on Monday.

Lieberman’s bill contains provisions that are intended to improve information sharing about viruses and other cyber threats between the government and industry so a cyber attack or intrusion can be thwarted in real-time.

A revised version of the bill included changes that narrowed the definition for what type of information can be shared with the government and ensures companies share this data with civilian, not military, agencies. Privacy groups had feared the original version of the bill would increase the pool of personal information flowing to the National Security Agency

After months of political wrangling, the Senate is expected to vote on the cyber security bill this upcoming week before it breaks for August recess. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) agreed to an open amendment process, but would allow only amendments that are deemed relevant and germane.

In addition to the GPS Act, Wyden plans to file amendments that would narrow the Federal Information Security Management Act measures in the bill and state that the international cooperation-related provisions could not be interpreted “to authorize the president to enter into a binding international agreement establishing disciplines on cyber security without advice and consent of the Senate,” according to a Wyden spokesman.

AUTHOR - Michael Peros

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