Legal Blog

GPS Surveillance Data in Civil Cases

They show us where we are, get us where we need to go, and prevent us from losing our way. It is hard to imagine modern life without Global Positioning System (GPS) devices. Indeed, many people not only have navigational systems installed in their cars but carry GPS around all day within their phones.

As helpful and ubiquitous as the technology is, however, GPS raises complex uncertainties around privacy. Should GPS providers such as Apple and Google be allowed to retain user location data? If so, what kinds of data, and for how long? Can companies share that information? What about law enforcement—can agencies use GPS to track their suspects?

Then there are concerns about individuals involved in separations, divorces, and other family law disputes. For instance: What rights does someone have to defend themselves against an ex-spouse using GPS to spy on their movements? Is information that device collects admissible in court?

These were precisely the questions facing the United States Supreme Court in United States v. Jones, 565 U.S. 400 (2012), and Carpenter v. United States, 138 S. Ct. 2206 (2018). In the first case, the Supreme Court ruled that a GPS tracing device counts as a “search” under the Fourth Amendment, meaning that data must be collected under a search warrant to be admissible. In the second case, the Supreme Court clarified that the same rules apply to not just GPS data, but all phone data.

To learn more, read “Admissibility of GPS Surveillance Data in Civil Cases” at the National Legal Research Group’s Family Law Research Blog.

With the emergence of any new technology come new developments in all corners of the law. Family law is no exception. To stay ahead of any legal updates that may affect you and your family, be sure to subscribe to the Offit Kurman blog.



ABOUT CHERYL L. HEPFER  |  240.507.1752

Cheryl Hepfer is a highly-regarded attorney who has practiced family law for more than 40 years.  She has been rated by her peers and is listed in Best Lawyers in America and as a top lawyer in the Washingtonian, Bethesda Magazine, and Super Lawyers.  She is past president of both the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers and the International Academy of Family Lawyers.








ABOUT SANDRA A. BROOKS  |  240.507.1716

As a family law attorney, Sandra (Sandy) Brooks’ practice focuses on a wide range of aspects in regards to family law. She dedicates her time to assisting clients in domestic law matters including divorce, child custody and visitation, family mediation, spousal and child support, property division, and division of retirement benefits. Other matters that fall under her jurisdiction as a family law attorney include tax consequences of divorce, mediation, prenuptial and post-nuptial agreements, negotiating and drafting of separation agreements, domestic litigation, and post-judgment proceedings.







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