Dan Koewler Appears on KSTP-Eyewitness 5 to Discuss Ignition Interlock

11/23/16 / Jay Kolls

A civil lawsuit filed in Hennepin County claims the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) violated the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which is unlawful search and seizure, by allowing GPS tracking on ignition interlock systems used by convicted DUI offenders.

The suit was filed by Smart Start Minnesota.  Smart Start is one of five companies certified by DPS to install the interlock systems in cars driven by DUI offenders as part of their sentence.  The ignition interlock has a breathalyzer and will not allow people to start their cars, if there is alcohol detected in the breathalyzer test.

Under new rules adopted by DPS, the manufacturers of the interlock systems must install new devices in cars used by DUI offenders by January 1, 2017.  But, Smart Start, in its lawsuit, contends the new systems contain computer modems that allow GPS tracking of the DUI offender's car wherever the vehicle travels.

"This violates the constitutional and privacy rights of all participants in the Ignition Interlock Program," Smart Start said.  

DPS declined an interview request, but in an email said the lawsuit "is without merit."  DPS has contended that it does not require the GPS systems be part of the new ignition interlocks and that it will not collect or store the data, or use it for surveillance purposes.

DPS said the manufacturers will collect that data and they have "security and protection systems in place" to make sure the GPS data is not mishandled, or misused.

Smart Start also declined an interview request. Smart Start, as part of its lawsuit, asked the District Court to immediately suspend the new requirements until DPS and members of the legislature, who have oversight with DPS, can agree on the future of the GPS data tracking issue.

Source: KSTP Channel 5

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