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Private Investigators Fighting GPS Tracking Ban

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A Central Florida legislator vowed Thursday to fight an attempt to loosen the tough restrictions he imposed earlier this year on electronic tracking devices.  Private investigators are warning the law goes too far.

Republican Representative Larry Metz says the devices threaten more than just personal liberty. He says he sponsored the bill after hearing about a murderer who used the technology to stalk his victim.

“Think of it as a parasite. A technological parasite being installed on someone’s vehicle or in their purse or briefcase, being done without their knowledge or consent.  That is a property rights violation in and of itself.”

The ban has some exemptions, including criminal investigations and rental car companies. But it specifically bans private investigators. Central Florida PI Chris Rumbaugh says that’s not fair.

Investigators are licensed and heavily regulated and they use the technology for far more than catching cheating hearts, Rumbaugh says. He says he uses GPS trackers to catch parents making drug buys with their kids in the car. These days, Rumbaugh says, everything is a tracking device.

“Most people are tracked and they don’t even have an understanding of that. Almost everybody who has a smart phone is being tracked and they aren’t having any awareness of that.”

Two Republicans, Senator Greg Evers of Baker and Representative Bob Cortes of Maitland, are sponsoring a bill next session that exempts private investigators, but Metz remains staunchly opposed.