Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Ontario man finds secret GPS tracking device from US on his vehicle

An Ontario family is upset and concerned about a GPS tracking device discovered on their truck.

Not only is the real-time tracking equipment creepy, but our police appear powerless to find out who was watching Ben Ferrill and his family, who live in Warsaw, Ont., just east of Peterborough.

Ferrill found a small black box in the wheel well of his truck. The gizmo had flashing lights inside.

"I didn't know if it was a bomb," Ferrill told a reporter. "We were scared to death."

Ferrill handed the device to the Ontario Provincial Police who tried to find out who owns the transmitter. "Are they following me? Are they watching me?" asked Ferrill.

The shock of finding the device must have been compounded for Ferrill when the OPP told him they might be able to lay a mischief charge if they could figure out the culprit. It's amazing that our privacy can be thoroughly invaded, yet someone found guilty would face such a minor charge.

Legal penalties are meant to act as a deterrent to bad behaviour, so the law considers your privacy about as important as littering.

Ferrill said the OPP have admitted to him that finding the person who placed the GPS tracker on his car will take too much effort, so even the mischief charge looks like a lost cause. That makes the deterrence of similar crimes absolutely toothless.

The OPP made some initial enquires that should get the attention of the federal government. The police discovered that the transmitter reports to an American company – U.S. Fleet Tracking – via a Canadian wireless connection.

The Canadian company, Kore Wireless, says it can't reveal what information is transmitted across its network. In effect, the Canadian company passed the buck to U.S. Fleet.

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