Dirty Political Tricks: Is Spying on Someone’s Whereabouts Via Planted GPS Device Even Legal In New York State?
September 8, 2014
(Long Island, NY) According to recent testimony in a case involving Assemblyman Edward Hennessey (D-Medford) and his political opponent, Republican Dean Murray, a GPS tracking device was placed on the vehicle of Assemblyman Edward Hennessey without his knowledge, and such actions do not violate New York State law, an opinion, said a witness, who is a private investigator.
In a hearing on August 1, 2014 before Suffolk County Judge Arthur G, Pitts, testimony was heard from several witnesses, including licensed investigator Adam Rosenblatt, of Rose Group Security Services Incorporated, who testified, that while hired to investigate Assemblyman Hennessey, under suspicion that his residency wasn’t within his currently held Assembly District, Rosenblatt did surveil and install a GPS tracking unit onto Hennessey‘s vehicle.
In addition, Rosenblatt said he ran what was called a “vehicle sightings report” which is “essentially a report of gathered data and it shows where ever the vehicle’s been recorded by various different instruments like tow trucks where they have these cameras on the side, parking violation vehicles have these cameras, police vehicles sometimes have these cameras. That data records the exact latitude, longitude, time, date and even takes a picture of the vehicle.” he stated, according to court documents. “I used that report to try and figure out, you know, the whereabouts of Mr. Hennessey’s vehicle other than his house.”
But is all of this legal? We asked local attorney Charles J. Fisher, of the Fisher Law Firm who says it isn’t necessarily illegal, which leaves it legal, at least for now. In other words, there is no specific law in New York State which prevents someone from installing a device, such as a GPS tracking device, onto the vehicle of another unwitting person, and there is no specific law from preventing someone from tracking someone else’s location without their knowledge.
“In my opinion, the legislators at both the County and State levels introduce and argue a superfluous number of bills having to do with safety. For example, there is now a law that drivers must move over one lane when the police or an emergency vehicle is on the side of the road. This is common sense driving and the law is unnecessary. If you can move over, you do so for the sake of safety, and if you cannot change lanes without causing an accident, you must not endanger other drivers just to abide by the law. This issue of privacy is one which is growing in importance every day. Thus, the legislators in our State may want to really start protecting our privacy and make a specific bill banning the use of GPS devices on a citizen’s vehicle without a warrant.” said Fisher.
The testimony even went as far as to question Assemblyman Hennessey’s STAR exemption on the home of his wife and children as being fraudulently obtained, but the larger issue, at least for this writer, is whether or not the average American, or even public servant, can be survailed to this degree, without their knowledge, and when guilty of no crime.
In a statement released today from Assemblyman Edward Hennessey, he said.
“It’s mind-boggling that Dean Murray would do something so extreme in trying to win an election,” Hennessey said. “Politics isn’t for the faint of heart, and I’m prepared for a vigorous campaign, but electronically stalking my family goes way over the line as a total invasion of our privacy.”
According to the NY Daily News, the official response from Republican Dean Murray has been that he was not aware that a private investigator had been hired and a GPS device attached to Hennessey’s car until after he was told by Assembly Republican officials.
The entire transcript of the hearing can be read here.
Disclaimer: News articles on this site may contain opinions of the author, and if opinion, may not necessarily reflect the views of the site itself or the views of the owners of NewsLI.com, Long Island Media Inc., or Long Island Exchange®. For more information on our editorial policies please view our terms of service.