GPS and civil liberties

Wired magazine has an interesting article about the decision of WABC-TV in NYC to put GPS transmitters in their news trucks. Apparently the union members of the news agency are all hacked up because they feel this is an invasion of their privacy. While not a new issue, this is one that is starting to get more publicity as more and more organizations instal GPS in their delivery vehicles. Read more after the jump.

With the exception of guns, beer and football, there are few things that Americans value more than their privacy. As privacy invasion goes, the use of GPS to track worker drones hoping to slack off while away from the hive is not exactly snooping on cellphone calls or reading personal mail. However, as more and more companies move to installing GPS as a means of assisting in deliveries and/or tracking deliveries for efficiency purposes these issues start to get more play. Legally these issues are dead in the water as long as they involve only private companies, as the WABC-TV flare-up does. Private workers forgo certain privacy rights when they sign a contract of work, such as the right to have your e-mail remain private and the right to your own work product. However, when the use of GPS involves government workers, such as police officers, than this takes on a whole other level of legal wrangling. As of now there are few if any real legal decisions concerning this exact issue, but expect that to change in the next few years. As for the poor worker drones at WABC-TV, unless the union has a lot of weight, which unions tend to do, no more shopping or running errands and saying you were stuck in traffic.