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GPS Restrictions in the UK: What You Should Know

GPS Restrictions in the UK: What You Should Know

GPS trackers — like those made by LandAirSea — generate real-time location insights about whatever they are attached to, making them a valuable resource for almost every industry. Using a GPS tracker in the United Kingdom is a little more complicated because of privacy restrictions laid down by legislation. However, you can still use a GPS tracker for multiple use cases, so purchasing one of these devices is a wise investment. 

Learn more about UK GPS tracker restrictions below. 

What You Need to Know About UK GPS Tracker Restrictions

It's important to note that no one piece of legislation in the UK refers explicitly to GPS trackers or even GPS technology as a whole. However, a patchwork of overlapping laws that concern privacy dictates how you can use a GPS tracker for personal or business use. 

The main piece of legislation you should know about is:

  • The Data Protection Act 2018

The Data Protection Act 2018 is the most recent and relevant legislation that governs data protection in the United Kingdom. It supersedes the Data Protection Act 2008 — a similar piece of legislation — and complements the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) now that the UK has left the European Union. 

While that sounds complicated, the Data Protection Act 2018 is relatively simple. It concerns collecting, processing, storing, and sharing personal data — including real-time location data generated by GPS trackers. The crux of this legislation is that you must collect, process, store, and share data fairly, lawfully, and transparently. 

The word "lawfully" is perhaps the most important one in the above sentence. Whether you can use a GPS tracker depends on if what you're tracking is lawful. Tracking valuables in your home and monitoring employees are two examples of this.

Can You Use a GPS Tracker for a Personal Reason?

Again, no law in the UK refers explicitly to GPS tracking, so now things get complicated. Tracking an individual for a personal reason — for example, placing a tracker in a car to catch a cheating spouse in the act — is almost certainly not lawful. That's because the cheating spouse has a right to privacy, whether you like it or not. GDPR, which the Data Protection Act 2018 complements, has legislated the right to privacy — a notion that stems from the 1950 European Convention on Human >Rights, which says:

"Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home, and his correspondence.” 

You could argue that tracking a person for a personal reason is in the public interest — one of a few "get out" clauses in the Data Protection Act 2018. In this case, someone might have the legal right to use a GPS tracker if their cheating spouse is a prominent public figure. However, most of the time, personal situations like this one are against the law, even if the law doesn't specifically state that's the case. It's complicated. UK GPS tracker restrictions are all about interpreting the law in the best way possible. 

So, what about using GPS in the UK to protect valuables like expensive cars? What if a criminal entered your property, broke into your vehicle, and drove off? It would be difficult to argue that the criminal in this scenario has a right to privacy. So you would almost certainly be able to use a GPS tracker to protect the items that matter to you, no matter what they are. 

UK GPS Tracker Restrictions: Business Use Cases

What about using GPS trackers for commercial reasons, like placing a tracking device in a vehicle to monitor employee performance? Tracking employees is certainly lawful because the Data Protection Act makes a provision for this:

"If employee monitoring involves collecting or using personal information, the data collected must be adequate, relevant, and not excessive."

A logistics company, for example, would be able to monitor employees who use their vehicles to deliver orders to customers. The company can find out how long a driver takes to get to their destination, their route, and whether they make any stops along the way. As long as that tracking is adequate, relevant, and not excessive, nobody's breaking the law in this situation. The same goes for similar use cases.

Best LAS GPS Trackers for the UK

LAS is proud to have a presence in the UK and is ready to serve its British customers. LAS has a wide range of devices that generate real-time location insights if it's legal to use a GPS tracker in your particular situation.

LandAirSea 54 With ShareSpot

Attach this GPS tracker to your most valuable assets with the provided cables or industrial-strength magnets. The LandAirSea54 comes with a six-month battery, speed alerts, and a ShareSpot feature that lets you share location information with other people. 

LandAirSea Sync

The LandAirSea Sync connects to your vehicle's OBD II port, meaning you don't have to buy or charge batteries. 

LandAirSea Overdrive

The LandAirSea Overdrive attaches to valuable assets with industrial-strength magnets. It comes with historical reporting, dark mode, and a battery life that lasts up to four times longer than the LandAirSea Sync. 

Not sure what GPS tracker to purchase in the UK? Contact a team member for friendly guidance!

Other benefits of buying a GPS unit from LAS in the UK include:

  • Location intelligence accurate within 6 inches
  • No activation fees or hidden costs
  • World-class support
  • Online tutorials and FAQs
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

Final Word About GPS Tracker Restrictions in the UK

There are way too many use cases for GPS tracking to list here and determine their legality in the UK. When tracking someone for personal reasons, consider whether you are violating their privacy, which goes against GDPR. There's more flexibility for business cases under the Data Protection Act 2018 as long as you track adequate, relevant, and not excessive data with your GPS unit. Use your best judgment or consult a legal professional if in doubt. 

Email ian.conley@landairsea.com to learn more about LandAirSea's incredible range of GPS tracking solutions. 

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