Is GPS Tracking Allowed By Law?

Gps tracking map. Track navigation pins on street maps, navigate mapping technology and locate position pin vector illustration

Have you ever thought about hiring a private investigator? Possibly you have a company and feel that an employee may be stealing. Maybe you suspect your spouse is having an affair. You might be concerned about the way your ex is raising your children using the child support you pay. There are any number of reasons why people feel the need or have the desire to hire a private investigator.

Private investigators have many tools available to them. Particularly with today’s advanced technology, the possibilities are nearly endless! One invaluable tool used by private investigators is GPS tracking. It’s almost guaranteed, when an investigator tells their client about such efforts, the client always questions, “Really? Are you able to conduct legal GPS tracking?”

Depending on the circumstances, the answer is frequently “yes”. After all, for a private investigator to do something illegal just to further their case could severely jeopardize their career. Few, if any, reputable private investigators will take a chance such as that.

You Have To Ask the Right Questions

An accurate determination of legality where GPS tracking is concerned depends on asking the right questions and receiving the appropriate answers. Here are some questions that need to be asked…


  • What is the investigation’s purpose? (Why is it being done?)
  • Why do you want to use GPS tracking?


  • When the GPS tracker is retrieved/mounted, where will the vehicle be going?
  • Geographically, where is the GPS tracking being executed?


  • How will installation of the tracker be accomplished?
  • How is power for the GPS tracker supplied?
  • How, on the vehicle in question, is the tracker mounted?
  • How long will the tracker be on the car?


  • Between the person being tracked and the person doing the tracking, what is the relationship?


  • When will installation of the tracker be done?


  • Who is being tracked?
  • Who’s the client?
  • Who is responsible for the installation of the tracker on the vehicle in question?

The Legality of GPS in General

Very generally speaking, the issue of GPS tracking has not even been specifically addressed by most states. Therefore, unless it’s for the purpose of law enforcement, there aren’t any official federal laws prohibiting the use of GPS tracking (legally). If individuals from law enforcement wish to use GPS tracking, however, they must first obtain a warrant.

This is not to say that, for non-law enforcement purposes, certain GPS tracking statewide restrictions haven’t been implicated. They have. So, it’s good to know the local laws before doing any GPS tracking.

  • There are, as an example, specific laws prohibiting GPS tracking in some states with the exception of law enforcement with a warrant.
  • In some cases, if GPS tracking is to be utilized, it must be installed by the vehicle owner.
  • Yet other states say that if you have hired a licensed PI or if you own the vehicle, GPS tracking can be installed. The investigator, in order to place the tracker on a vehicle, must have permissible purpose.

Do You Need Private Investigator To Track Someone?

Probity Investigations is well aware of the ins and outs, and ups and downs of GPS tracking for investigative purposes. You can rest assured we will not break any laws on your behalf. We are reputable, dependable investigators who are well adept at the use of spy cameras, GPS trackers, mobile text recovery methods, and much more.

Contact us to schedule a free consultation today.