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Proposed law would make it tougher to track someone with an electronic device

Posted at 6:33 PM, Mar 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-05 22:22:39-05

SALT LAKE CITY -- A bill making its way through the state legislature would stop people from being able to put a tracking device on your car without proper authorization.

During a messy divorce five years ago, Mindi realized there was a tracking device on her car. It had been put there by a private investigator working with her ex-husband.

"It's kind of like a violation of your personal property," Mindi said. "It’s like to me someone breaking into your home."

However, what that PI did was perfectly legal. When several similar cases were brought to the attention of Cottonwood Heights Police, Lt. Dan Bartlett, says they decided to contact their local lawmaker.

"When we started looking at the law we kind of discovered there was a loophole in the law," Bartlett said.

HB223 would require private investigators or anyone for that matter, to get authorization before they can place a tracker on someone's car.

"For law enforcement to put a tracker on a vehicle or track someone’s movement, we need to get an electronic monitor warrant," Bartlett said. "It’s got to go through a prosecutor and a judge and we have to track everything we do with that and report everything we do with that."

HB223 wouldn't make tracking illegal.

"It doesn’t stop employers from tracking their vehicles or their employees. It doesn’t stop rental companies from tracking their rental cars or any high risk loans of anything like that. You can still track your children," Barlett said.

Mindi still feels paranoid.

"I watch everything. I still do. It’s probably a real bad habit now," Mindi said.

However, she's hoping this law will give other victims peace of mind.

"I don’t know if it would make it easier for me but hopefully someone else in my situation," Mindi said.

"Victims can be further victimized," Bartlett said. "We want to make sure that doesn’t happen."

HB223 has gotten a lot of support. The only real resistance has come from the private investigators association. The bill passed the House and now goes to the Senate for a vote.