The Texas Association of Licensed Investigators, San Antonio Chapter (TALI-SA) met recently for their monthly luncheon and invited guest speaker Stephen Conroy, co-founder and CEO of LocationLock. In recent months, the Jones Case (10-1259 United States v. Jones) has been discussed and misinterpreted by many. Conroy, a professional Texas engineer and not a licensed attorney, used his analytical skills to deduce his own interpretation of Federal and State laws affecting Texas private investigators with respect to community property, the Texas Penal Code, and the recent Jones Case holding as affirmed by the United States Supreme Court on January 23, 2012.
Many investigators have become hesitant to use GPS tracking devices due to what Conroy calls "a misinterpretation of current law." Section 16.06 of the Texas Penal Code provides specific defense to licensed private investigators when the investigator is given written consent. Because of the narrow opinion in the Jones Case, many investigators have questions regarding the application of the Court's ruling, Conroy expressed. While the Case did involve a GPS tracking device, the ruling was specific to the Government’s failure to follow the specific language of an issued warrant. Specifically, the U.S. Government attached a tracking device to a vehicle after the warrant's specified time frame had expired. In addition, the Court ruled "the Government's attachment of the GPS device to the vehicle, and its use of that device to monitor the vehicle's movements, constitutes a search under the Fourth Amendment" (10-1259 United States v. Jones).
When a Texas investigator obtains written consent from a vehicle's owner, Conroy stated a trespass or search does not occur per his interpretation of the Jones Case ruling. Conroy further advised investigators to ask themselves the question "does the driver of the vehicle have a reasonable expectation of privacy (REP)" per Katz v. United States, 389 U.S. 347 (1967). Conroy emphasized the Jones Case did not determine if Jones had a REP in the GPS tracking device's collected information. While the recent ruling of the Jones Case appears clear to Conroy, he concluded an individual's REP is the more relevant question investigators should ask themselves before planting a GPS tracking device. Although the Katz ruling was issued in 1967, this is still a very grey area, stated Conroy and encouraged the use of "common sense" when investigators must make a decision on the legality of planting a tracking device. "If you think what you are asked to do might be illegal, it probably is and wisdom would dictate you take an alternate action," concluded Conroy.
Conroy also discussed the technology behind micro asset trackers, how these devices have been used in the field to date, and the success investigators are having with GPS trackers in their line of work. “We hope you now have a better understanding of the use of GPS [trackers], are aware of a few more legal aspects to consider when using GPS [trackers], and have more knowledge about the technology behind the magic” David Caton, TALI-SA Director, expressed in an email to his members.
About LocationLock, LLC
LocationLock is headquartered in Boerne, Texas, just a few miles northwest of San Antonio. The company is a specialized group of individuals called to make an impact in the business and technology sector. LocationLock’s mission is to bring their customers peace of mind by securing their assets through the company’s GPS tracking technology. LocationLock has some of the most robust and proven hardware/software in the GPS industry. The company’s ability to deliver on these promises has enabled their customers to enjoy more peace of mind and maintain more productive operations.
For more information on LocationLock, go to www.wooeb.com/LocationLock