A Hennepin County judge has issued a temporary stop to the installation of ignition interlock devices with GPS tracking capabilities on vehicles of offenders convicted of a DUI.

Ignition interlocks require DUI offenders to take a breathalyzer test before their cars will start and The Minnesota Department of Public Service announced earlier this year that all future ignition interlock devices would need to be outfitted with GPS tracking technologies.

This was a law passed by the DPS without going through the normal channels, and when lawmakers and legal minds heard about the new rule, they grew concerned about the potential legal consequences of the technology as most of these new ignition interlock systems have GPS tracking capabilities, which would allow the government to collect and store data about the location and places the DUI offender had driven without the consent of the driver.

The judge cited a series of stories by 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS in her ruling and said, “news reports regarding the new, real-time reporting requirement and the potential constitutional issues created by GPS tracking … indicated that the Plaintiff would hold off on beginning to retrofit units until the issue between the legislature and DVS (Division of Motor Vehicle Services) was resolved.”

The judge also said, “The government’s installation of a GPS tracking device on a vehicle without a search warrant is an illegal search under the Fourth Amendment.”

State Rep. Peggy Scott, R-Andover, chairs the House Civil Law and Data Practices Committee and she will hold legislative hearings Thursday and told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS she was pleased by the judge’s injunction.

“The judge did not mention the constitutional issue just once, but rather three or four times in her ruling, questioning the legality of placing these GPS tracking devices in the cars of people who have not given consent, and that’s a big deal and a big problem,” Scott said.

DPS has declined repeated requests for interviews, but did issue a statement that said, in part, “While real-time reporting is required, no particular technology is mandated for ignition interlock devices.  DPS does not require, use, or store GPS data from these devices.”