GPS tracker legal basis – when is tracking legal?

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GPS makes everyday life easier in many areas, private and professional. It is useful to know both the location and route of your family members when making plans. Companies also use the many advantages of GPS devices , so they can be used to optimize planning and adjust routes. However, the use of such a device is not always permitted; in certain situations it must be specifically checked whether its use is permitted, as GPS trackers always represent an invasion of privacy .

When employers use GPS tracking systems , they have the ability to track anyone, which can be a good solution if the necessary criteria are followed.

Are GPS trackers legal?

The use of trackers is appropriate and necessary in many cases, especially in the private sector. However, it is important that everyone involved is informed; secret tracking is not permitted.

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In large companies , GPS systems are necessary for planning ; the larger the fleet , the more useful technical measures for monitoring and control are. In this context, work processes can be planned better and journeys can be optimized and accelerated depending on the route.

From a legal perspective, there is basically nothing wrong with tracking if the employer takes certain aspects into account . No conclusions may be drawn about the employee using the tracker; the collection of personal data is not permitted unless the person concerned voluntarily agrees.

If GPS trackers are used, those involved must be informed and the manager must ensure transparency .

When is tracking via GPS not legal?

Monitoring employees via GPS outside of working hours in private areas is generally prohibited; the only exception to this is if the employer fears a criminal offense. In all other cases, however, third-party monitoring is not permitted.

If companies plan GPS monitoring, employees must be informed accordingly. Since sensitive data is obtained through this activity, data protection must be taken into account .

Some devices with GPS also have cameras or a listening function , the use of which constitutes a criminal offense.

How a GPS tracker works and areas of application

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The term GPS is the short form of global positioning system , which means something like ‘positioning system’. With these systems it is possible to calculate your current location and your own speed; distances traveled are also stored on the server and can be evaluated precisely afterwards.

In the early days, this technical innovation was mainly used for navigation devices ; these could be purchased and subsequently installed in vehicles. These devices are now no longer just installed in cars; they can be attached to any vehicle, bike, valuable item or expensive possession, thus increasing theft protection. Because the GPS tracker can be located very easily, so the position can be reliably determined at any time.

They are also suitable for increasing security within your own family; their handy shape means that family members and pets can always be monitored.

To do this, the user only needs the device itself and a device that receives the determined data, for example a smartphone or a tablet. GPS trackers work with satellite signals , such a signal is sent at regular intervals. The tracker can then use the signal to understand its own position and speed.

With this method you can not only locate a vehicle or a person via GPS , but if in doubt, alarms can be set in the app so that the user receives a message when, for example, the car is started.

GPS tracking in companies

With the help of GPS, a variety of work processes in medium-sized and large companies can be controlled and optimized. The employer then benefits from better capacity utilization, he can accept more orders and the company grows. GPS is therefore particularly useful and important in logistics companies, but employees may only be checked during working hours; it is important that the people affected are informed. Personal areas where employees spend their breaks are also not allowed to be monitored using GPS.

In most cases, the devices for the system are located in the vehicles and record the routes, they also guide the driver to the shortest routes and warn in the event of accidents and traffic jams. Such systems can be used for complete monitoring or independently if the employer only wants to inspect certain cars.

So if you just want to check whether employees are playing on their smartphones during working hours, you are not allowed to use a monitoring system and have to find another option.

GPS devices in vehicles

GPS devices serve to improve everyday working life ; depending on the circumstances, companies can serve more customers through optimization, especially if their own fleet is networked.

Some manufacturers offer special systems for business, these then network the company holistically from the warehouse to the vehicle, so the manager can ensure that all options are exhausted to work efficiently. It is absolutely legal for a driver’s route to be tracked as long as he has been informed about it. It can even be to its advantage, some tracker systems allow direct communication between line and driver . The current location is also important; this can be sent to the customer, so he has the opportunity to plan the receipt of the goods precisely.

Monitor employees via GPS

In general, the use of GPS in companies is permitted as long as all employees have been informed. If personal data is still necessary, everyone involved must agree. In addition, the manager ensures the protection and regular destruction of the information.

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