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California Rental Companies Face Restrictions on Use of GPS in Rental Vehicles

August 10, 2004

California is expected to legislate to prohibit car rental companies from using GPS units installed in some of their vehicles to enforce restrictions such as speeding and no-out-of-state driving, in their rental agreements, according to Patrick Hook Associates on July 27.The measure, which has the apparent support of all the major car rental companies and consumer groups as well as the California attorney general, according to Patrick Hook Associates, follows alleged abuses of the technology, which resulted in drivers being penalized for breaching their rental agreements or exceeding the speed limits. According to the bill's sponsor, California Assemblywoman Ellen Corbett, these rental companies were then assessing "thousands of dollars in extra fees" against drivers who had signed rental agreements with the restrictions. The bill, she said, "protects consumers' privacy from invasive electronic surveillance." While supporting the measure, a spokesman for Hertz indicated that there had been a need in the original draft, to find a balance in practical operations, noting that the rental company had found GPS useful to police in locating stolen high-end rental cars.
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