The Minnesota Department of Public Safety has announced a new rule that requires DUI offenders to install new ignition interlock systems in their vehicles, and some of the new systems will have the ability to collect GPS data.
The new rule went into effect September 1, and it requires any vendor of ignition interlock devices to install a new wireless modem in all systems. These modems have the capability of providing the state with “real-time” data as to a person’s location within five minutes accuracy. These modems capture, record and send your GPS data when your vehicle is in use, so the state will know when and where you are using your vehicle.
However, the Department of Public Services has a different story. While some new units will have the capability to track driver information, they stated that they are not requiring the new systems to have this feature. They also told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS that the DPS will not “collect or house the data.” The Minnesota DPS suggests it will be the ignition interlock manufacturers who will collect and store the data, and “they have data protection systems in place.”
This certainly seems like the DPS is skirting around some of the language of the new requirement when the fact of the matter is that this new rule will affect thousands of individuals who are currently using an ignition interlock device in Minnesota. The devices already collected data on a person’s blood alcohol level each time they started the car and at points during their commute, but collecting location data seems to be overstepping boundaries. It seems unnecessary to collect that information, and there’s no doubt that the data harvest has the potential to be abused, even if the DPS claims that they don’t have access to it.
I’d also be shocked if the new systems didn’t come with a higher price tag, meaning even more expenses for individuals who are just trying to abide by their sentencing guidelines and move on with their life.