The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports on an unusual lawsuit in Wisconsin against a GPS company; the plaintiff claims the firm assisted a domestic violence abuser to harm his victim. A 2009 report about stalking from the Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics found that “Electronic monitoring was used to stalk 1 in 13 victims. Video or digital cameras were equally likely as listening devices or bugs to be used to electronically monitor victims (46% and 42%). Global positioning system (GPS) technology comprised about a tenth of the electronic monitoring of stalking victims.” Read more about the report here. Also, the National Network to End Domestic Violence has a paper about how abusers and stalkers use technology to control and harass their victims.
The Journal Sentinel reports:
The lawsuit claims a Missouri company, Foxtrax Vehicle Tracking Inc., aided and abetted “Jack Doe” to commit assault and battery on “Jane Doe” in 2008, including while she was seven months pregnant. The suit does not state so specifically, but implies that Jack Doe installed a tracking device on Jane Doe’s vehicle.
The civil complaint, filed this week in Milwaukee County Circuit Court, names Jack Doe, Foxtrax and “as yet unidentified co-conspirators” as defendants. It says Jane and Jack Doe had a domestic partnership that began in March 2007, and that he was abusive and threatening toward her, “for the sole purpose of restraining the liberty and freedom of movement” of Jane Doe. […]
Tony Gilbart, of the Wisconsin Coalition Against Domestic Violence, said a bill in the state Assembly this year would have made it a crime to track someone by GPS without their consent. There was no companion bill in the Senate, he said.
While Gilbart acknowledges abusers would not likely follow that law and notify their targets, he said such a law would provide another enforcement tool against those who would use GPS to stalk people.