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Assembly passes bill barring GPS tracking

Husband or wives who are on the verge of getting a divorce and install a global-positioning device on a car to track a spouse’s movements would be guilty of a misdemeanor under a bill passed by the state Assembly on Thursday.

Assembly Bill 19 would penalize someone with a Class A misdemeanor if he or she installed a GPS device on a spouse’s car following a petition for an annulment, divorce or legal separation. To give rise to the criminal charge, the device would need to have been installed without the spouse’s knowledge.

The same bill also would make it a Class A misdemeanor for someone to install a GPS on someone else’s vehicle without the owner’s knowledge.

The bill contains exceptions for parents who use a device to track the movements of a minor child or a ward, for lienholders who are trying to track a vehicle’s movements for repossession purposes, for business owners trying to track company vehicles and for law-enforcement officers.

To become law, Assembly Bill 19 still must be passed by the state Senate and signed by Gov. Scott Walker.

About Dan Shaw,

Dan Shaw is the managing editor at the Wisconsin Law Journal. He can be reached at or at 414-225-1807.

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