NJ Court Says a GPS Tracking System Can Be Used to Track a Cheating Spouse

If you thought your partner was cheating on you, to what lengths would you go to try and catch them? Would you secretly place a GPS tracking system on their vehicle? Would you hire a private investigator to figure out what your spouse is up to when you’re not around?

A woman in New Jersey did exactly that because she thought her husband was having an affair. The woman placed a GPS tracking system under the hood of her husband’s car. She then hired a private investigator (PI) to track his whereabouts.  Later, the husband found the GPS tracking device and decided to sue the PI for an invasion of privacy.

This week an appeals court in New Jersey ruled in favor of the PI, saying that placing a GPS tracking system in a family vehicle does not constitute an invasion of your spouse’s privacy. The court decided that the ex-husband was not entitled to expect privacy because the GPS tracking system, placed in the car by his then-wife, only tracked his movement in public areas, according to the court opinion.  It further stated the court found no evidence of the wife passing along private tracking information to the investigator she had hired.

The New Jersey decision precedes the Supreme Court’s review next year of whether law enforcement can undertake GPS tracking without a warrant. This case will be very important in setting precedent for the debate over GPS tracking and privacy rights.