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    Star-Ledger: Judge rules use of GPS to track a cheating spouse is not an invasion of privacy

    The Star-Ledger in New Jersey reports on a case — Villanova v. Innovative Investigations, Inc., et al., A-0654-10T2 (pdf) — concerning privacy and the use of GPS for location tracking:

    Beware, all you cheating husbands and wives. The use of a GPS device to track your whereabouts is not an invasion of privacy in New Jersey, a state appellate court panel ruled today.

    Based on the battle of a divorcing Gloucester County couple, the decision helps clarify the rules governing a technology increasingly employed by suspicious spouses — many of whom hire private investigators. […]

    No state law governs the use of GPS tracking devices, and the ruling, which does not affect police officers, is the first to address the issue, said Jimmie Mesis, past president of the New Jersey Licensed Private Investigators Association. […]

    The court ruled in the case of Kenneth Villanova, a Gloucester County sheriff’s officer who sued private investigator Richard Leonard of Innovative Investigations Inc., hired by Villanova’s now ex-wife in 2007.

    After Villanova evaded Leonard, who was following him, on several occassions, he recommended that Villanova’s wife buy a GPS tracking device. She put it in the glove compartment of the GMC Yukon-Denali, which they both owned but was primarily driven by Villanova, the court papers said. It was in place, undetected, from July 14 to Aug. 24, 2007. […]

    Villanova claimed the tracking device invaded his privacy and caused him ”substantial and permanent emotional distress,” though the appellate judges noted he sought no medical treatment or advice.

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