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How You Can Be Tracked Using the GPS in Your Car

Just like your cell phone, you car or truck has a GPS unit embedded in it. These are little transmitters that broadcast your vehicle's location to various networks so your location can always be determined. Unlike in cell phone, there is no way you can turn off the GPS tracking system in a vehicle.

A good example of an onboard GPS system is the General Motors ONSTAR system which has a GPS transmitter system built in the electrical system. The GPS device not only tracks the location of your car (where you left it in the parking lot) it also helps you do other things like ask General Motors to use satellite information to unlock your vehicle if you lock your keys inside of it.)

Something that has always been suspect about car GPS units is if your car's location is private and if the car companies can sell GPS location information to other entities like the government, the police, private investigators and marketers. You cannot turn this off and you really do not have any privacy or control how information about where your vehicle goes is used by a third party.

In 2004 the magazine Popular Mechanics printed a very famous story about a man who rented a car and became a victim of the information that was transmitted about him from a satellite thanks to the GPS receiver embedded in the rental car's wiring system. This tale, which became viral fast, was about a man who in the year 2000, rented a Chrysler mini-van from ACME Car Rentals that had in the fine print in the contract that money could be deducted from his credit card if he was caught violating any aspect of the car rental contract. One of the violations cited on the contract was going above the speed limit, and in his rush to travel from Connecticut to Virginal to make the opening of a play he went over the speed limit four times. By the time he turned the car in his credit card was charged and extra $450 by the car rental company who had received information from four separate satellites that he had been speeding on the I-95 and the Jersey Turnpike. This represented $150 for three speeding violations each reported by the tiny GPS chip hidden in the vehicle.

There are many private companies out there that are willing to attempt to use the GPS information in a vehicle in order to do something like catch a criminal, a speeding teenager or a cheating spouse. The clients of these companies include the government, school bus companies, truck driving fleets, taxi cab companies and all kinds of private companies. These GPS devices can tell contractors and clients all kinds of things such as whether or not the company car is being used for more than business use, whether or not a school bus driver is driving safely, and whether or not a truck driver is taking too many naps at highway rest stops during deliveries.