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GPS “Big Brother” Bill Passes Calif. Senate Committee

August 4, 2004

A bill by Calif. Assemblywoman Ellen Corbett (D – San Leandro) to prohibit the improper use of electronic surveillance equipment (EST) by rental car companies has gained approval from the Senate Judiciary Committee. Assembly Bill 2840 bans car rental companies from using electronic surveillance technology to track and monitor renters in order to impose fines or surcharges. According to the bill, information from navigation equipment could only be used in certain legitimate circumstances such as when the renter requests navigational assistance or to track stolen vehicles.The bill also requires a rental car company that uses EST to orally disclose to a renter that EST is being used, and requires that renters acknowledge on the rental car contract that the vehicle they rent may be electronically tracked by the rental company.Opponents of the bill, including Avis, Budget, Hertz, Alamo and National, contend that “the oral disclosure is far too long to be given at a long-lined rental counter with many customers anxious to make appointments or to reach their destination. … The written disclosure is so detailed that it will likely be discarded by many customers without having been read."
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