Can GPS Ankle Monitors Hear You?

gps ankle monitors

Law enforcement is on the move. 45 percent of individuals in ICE’s primary alternative to detention program wear an ankle monitor. 

GPS ankle monitors allow for thorough surveillance of people while giving them the flexibility to live. Yet even experienced law enforcement personnel have questions about them. 

What is the technology that GPS monitors use? What is the experience of wearing a monitor like? Is it true that monitors have microphones or video cameras in them? 

Answer these questions, and you can understand this new way of keeping people out of jail. Here is your quick guide. 

How Do GPS Angle Monitors Work? 

The Global Positioning System (GPS) is a location system that relies on satellite data. The government can use multiple satellites to pinpoint where a person is, transmitting the exact location to law enforcement. 

Many ankle monitors combine GPS with motion sensor technology. This lets law enforcement know that an individual is moving, and it can give them a sense of where they are going. 

Law enforcement can track where a person is in real-time. They can send officers if someone is leaving a specified location or if the monitor goes offline. There are penalties attached to both, including a prison sentence.

Most monitors limit a person to their house and surrounding area. But an individual may be allowed to go to work, receive medical services, and visit the grocery store. Conditions for ankle monitors vary depending on the case. 

There are other types of electronic monitoring devices. Radiofrequency monitoring uses radio waves from landlines and cellular stations. GPS monitoring is used more often today, but some departments may use radiofrequency. 

When Do People Wear Ankle Monitors? 

A judge can order a defendant to wear an ankle monitor on probation or house arrest. Not all people who are on parole or probation have to wear one. First-time offenders may go without monitoring, though they may need to check with a parole officer. 

A person may wear a monitor for several months. Some people may be able to get it removed early if they petition the court. But this is not common. 

Can the Monitor Ever Get Removed? 

A court may allow for someone to remove their ankle monitor for air travel. This is a rare circumstance, done for family emergencies and similar occasions. 

A patient wearing a monitor cannot receive an MRI, X-ray, or CT scan. This may require the removal of the bracelet. But most states do not have laws in place for medical removals, so the patient faces an arrest if they don’t notify their probation officer.  

What Is It Like to Wear an Ankle Monitor? 

A GPS monitoring device can fit tightly around the leg, though it will not impair freedom of movement. It does not have to go around the ankle, but it should stay on the lower leg. Someone can wear a monitor underneath their clothing or over it. 

Most monitors have batteries that require daily recharging. The individual must plug their charger in and stay with their monitor until its battery is full. 

For the most part, people who wear ankle monitors can live normal lives. They can attend to house chores, perform work, and get essential services. 

Can GPS Ankle Monitors Hear You? 

Some ankle monitors do have microphones inside of them. Monitors in Illinois and Indiana have been found to have microphones. 

Several states like Massachusetts have promised not to buy GPS ankle monitors for sale with microphones in them. But it is unclear if they have held to their word. 

There are substantial privacy implications involved in using microphone technology. Innocent people may have their voices and conversations recorded by the monitor. This makes it hard for the national adoption of monitors with microphones. 

Even if someone’s monitor does not have a microphone in it, the police can monitor them through other means. They can use cameras and facial recognition software to track someone’s whereabouts. 

What Data Does the Monitor Record? 

A monitor can record someone’s GPS location data. It can send the data to a database that the state controls. 

Some states go to private vendors for support. The data from a monitor can also go to them, though most vendors try to keep their data secure. 

The device stores where a person can or cannot go. The court may allow someone to go to an area for a specific time, like a nearby grocery store for dinner. They then must return home. 

Some monitors are designed for people who have committed drinking-related offenses. The devices can track someone’s blood alcohol content through their skin. 

Can GPS Ankle Monitors Shock You? 

An ankle monitor cannot shock someone. Some monitors can vibrate to signal that a person needs to leave an area. They can also have flashing lights that indicate that they need recharging. 

Can You Shower or Swim With an Ankle Monitor? 

Ankle bracelets are waterproof for limited contact with the water. Someone can wear their bracelet in the shower, including in hot and cold water. 

But a wearer should not bathe or submerge their monitor in water for long periods of time. Their unit will have trouble sending a signal through water, and the battery may drain. Yet, the wearer is not at risk for electrocution. 

Get the Facts About GPS Ankle Monitors

Americans are still learning about GPS ankle monitors. They rely on the same satellite technology that directional GPS devices use. They are used for people on house arrest, parole, or immigration custody.  

Some monitors may contain microphones, though they are not common. They can store data about a person’s location and where they cannot go. 

A person must keep their monitor charged and functioning. But they can go in the shower with their device. It can vibrate or flashlights to alert the wearer. 

Don’t stop learning about GPS technology. Kapa Technologies supplies premium ankle monitors. Contact us today.  

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