NY seeks to roadblock GPS tracking of rental vehicles

| 5/23/2002

The New York State Senate tried to put the brakes on a budding practice Monday that uses technology to spy on rental vehicle customers and charge them for speeding. Rental companies have argued using Global Positioning Systems allows them to protect their assets against theft and damage.

With the growing popularity of GPS, rental agencies are tracking their vehicles and how fast they're traveling. The bill unanimously passed by the Senate this week and sent to the Assembly prohibits companies from using the information collected to levy extra fees on customers.

"I don't believe we should have Big Brother using satellites to track consumers and fine them hefty fines and put that money into the pockets of big business," said Sen. Nicholas Spano (R-Yonkers), the bill's sponsor.

The bill was sparked in part by a Connecticut case last year. A man rented a minivan from a New Haven agency with his debit card, and his account was repeatedly charged $150 each time the vehicle hit 80 mph for more than two minutes. The man was charged an additional $450.