Minnesota Lawmakers Move to Suspend GPS Tracking of DUI Offenders

December 13, 2016 07:01 AM

5 EYEWITNESS NEWS uncovered the GPS tracking of DUI offenders two months ago, by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS). 

Now, House Republicans and House DFLers are introducing legislation that will suspend the new DPS rule until there are committee hearings during the upcoming legislative session.

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Currently, the DPS is requiring thousands of Minnesotans convicted of DUI offenses, who use ignition interlock systems, to replace their current devices with new ones.

RELATED: Minnesota State Agency Allowed GPS Tracking Capabilities in Cars of DUI Offenders for Years

However, 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS found the new devices have computer modems with GPS tracking capabilities which means the state could monitor every move a DUI offender makes in their car while using the new ignition interlock systems. DUI offenders who use the ignition interlock systems must first blow into a breathalyzer and their cars will not start if the device registers any alcohol in the system of the driver. 

"This could very well be a violation of the U.S. Constitution and we have asked DPS to suspend this new rule until we can look into the legality of it during the legislative session," State Rep. Peggy Scott, (R) Andover said.

"This is a big problem because we have thousands of Minnesotans who could have their privacy in jeopardy and we already have one lawsuit against the state over this and more could follow and taxpayers pay to defend those lawsuits," State Rep. John Lesch (DFL) St Paul added. 

RELATED: Lawsuit Claims Minnesota Department of Public Safety Violated Constitutional Rights of Ignition Interlock Users

Rep. Scott said she intends to call the DPS commissioner to testify before her Civil Law and Data Practices Committee the first week of the legislative session in January. DPS has declined repeated requests for interviews, but has said it believes the GPS tracking systems are legal and that the agency has no intention of using, collecting or storing the GPS data that is captured by the new interlock systems.


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