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Spy tracer: what recourse if you find one in your car?

The use of a GPS tracker on a vehicle is formally regulated in France. If you find one hidden under or in your car, it constitutes an invasion of privacy, which is severely punishable.

Whether you regularly park your car in a sensitive area, whether you own an old one or simply want to buy some peace of mind, the use of a GPS plotter may be of interest to you. There are of all sizes, in several formats and with autonomy that can sometimes go up to several weeks. You can easily find it on the Internet, and from a few tens of euros. Some insurance companies may even require you to install them if you own a luxury car that can be coveted. But the use of a GPS tracker meets many legal constraints. You cannot install it on any vehicle. Here’s what the law says about it. How to protect yourself if you discover a “spy” on your car.

Do not interfere with the privacy of others

Installing a GPS device is quite possible as long as it does not infringe the privacy of others. In other words, the traced person must be fully aware of the existence of the beacon. And that she uses the vehicle knowingly. In other words, if your vehicle is equipped with such a device, you must inform the user(s).

It is the same if you are a business manager and wish to geolocate your service vehicles. Your employees must have been informed of this beforehand. And you have to make a declaration to the CNIL. Article L226-1 of the Penal Code is very clear about privacy. It indicates that “Is punishable by one year’s imprisonment and 45,000 euro fine the fact, by means of any process whatsoever, of deliberately infringing the intimacy of the private life of another”. This fine can go up to €60,000 if the offense is committed by a spouse, partner or PACS partner.

A formally framed practice

What to do if you are yourself the victim of an illegal tracer on your car ? As it is a crime, the criminal court is competent for the management of the dispute. You can either seize a judge directly by a direct summons, or inform the police and gendarmerie. In addition to the penalties mentioned above, the court may apply additional penalties. Among them : deprivation of civic, civil and family rights, the confiscation of tracing equipment, or the ban on carrying weapons for up to 5 years. These measures also apply to the installation of a micro-spy in the passenger compartment, which is just as much a serious invasion of privacy.

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