GPS trackers have also generated an enormous number of benefits over the last few years, in nearly every area that you can think of. Fleet managers regularly use them to not only gain superior visibility over their assets, but also to help make sure their drivers are being as safe and as efficient as possible at all times. Home users can employ them to keep an eye on their teen drivers, or to help the police recover their vehicles in the event that they’re ever stolen.
But, at the same time, GPS trackers have something of a seedy underbelly, too ‒ particularly when it comes to our privacy. Case in point: A wide range of different car dealerships often take the unusual step of installing a GPS tracker on a car before it rolls off the lot after purchase. Yes, this is bad ‒ but what’s actually worse is that some drivers may not be aware that it’s happening at all.
According to one recent news report out of Memphis, Tennessee, car dealerships in the area often install a GPS tracker on a car after someone has purchased it, but before they’re allowed to take it home for the first time. But the absolutely critical thing to understand is that those dealerships aren’t necessarily trying to hide anything at all ‒ in fact, a disclosure that this type of “spying” is going on is usually in the paperwork that people have to sign as a part of the buying process.
A local news team in the area investigated this matter further, even going so far as to speak to some of the managers of dealerships who engage in these practices. Naturally, they argue that this is done to protect both the dealership and the driver, and many insist that it is NOT an invasion of privacy.
In the event that a car is stolen soon after purchase, for example, that GPS tracker information could provide the police with the helpful information necessarily needed to get it back. Even if the driver in question hadn’t installed a GPS tracker of their own, the dealership did ‒ meaning that they have more recovery options than would otherwise have been available to them.
Some managers even went as far as to say that the GPS trackers would be impossible to spot in clear view. You have to know precisely what you’re looking for, and even then, finding it on the car would be difficult.
Again, most of this comes down to the fact that the GPS trackers are disclosed in the paperwork you’re required to sign before you can take the car home. No, the employee who sold you the car isn’t necessarily going to tell you about it ‒ but as long as it is disclosed in some fashion, it’s more or less totally on the level.
If nothing else, this serves as an important reminder of two key ideas. First, never sign anything before fully reading it ‒ particularly if it’s associated with a massive price tag like a car. You need to know what you’re agreeing to, and ignorance of something like this isn’t necessarily going to hold up in a court of law at a later date.
Secondly, this once again is an example of the many different ways in which we’ve given up some of our privacy for the sake of convenience as the technology age drags on. Whether or not this is a good thing or a bad thing is certainly going to be debated for years to come.