WASHINGTON – Congressman Blake Farenthold (R-Texas) introduced legislation this afternoon to end the warrantless domestic tracking of individuals using Global Positioning System (GPS) data. The Geolocational Privacy and Surveillance Act or the ‘‘GPS Act,” would require all domestic law enforcement agencies to obtain a warrant before tracking individuals’ geolocation information without their knowledge. This bill continues the work of recently retired member of Congress, Jason Chaffetz.
“Warrantless tracking of GPS information is a clear violation of American citizens’ Fourth Amendment right to privacy,” said Congressman Farenthold. “With a GPS-equipped cell phone in everyone’s pocket, it’s time the United States modernizes the way it handles geolocation data. While GPS data and tracking software have mostly changed our lives for the better, it also paints an exhaustive picture of the user’s habits and private life. We must ensure law enforcement respects that privacy, and we must not erode our civil liberties in the name of safety.”
The GPS Act will amend federal criminal code to prohibit intentionally:
1. Intercepting the geolocation data pertaining to another individual
2. Disclosing geolocation information to another individual in violation of this act
3. Using geolocation data knowingly acquired in violation of this act
4. Divulging geolocation data obtained legally under this act as part of a criminal investigation to parties not involved in the investigation
The full bill text is available on Congressman Farenthold’s website.