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Illinois Supreme Court Upholds Chicago’s Warrantless GPS Tracking on Food Trucks

Illinois Supreme Court judges upheld an old law in Chicago that disallows food trucks to sell their products within 200 feet of a restaurant. The restrictive law also disallows food trucks to sell their items within 200 feet of any business that serves food and even supermarkets.

Chicago is one of the only cities in the country that enforces the rule through forcing food trucks to install GPS monitors on their vehicles.

"Their proprietary GPS tracking hardware helps businesses of all types to better monitor, optimize, and protect their cars, trucks, employees, and other assets," explains

City officials can access the data at any time without the need for a warranty. The Supreme Court ruled in favor of the city, claiming that the ability to look through the food trucks’ locations at any time was not considered a “search” due to the city requiring GPS usage as part of the truck owner’s licensing requirements.

Opponents of the decision claim that small business owners are losing constitutional protections in Illinois. The move allows cities across the country to demand GPS installation as part of their licensing requirements to be able to track businesses without concern.

Occupational licensing is required in about 20% of the Illinois workforce and can be rewritten to allow trackers on business vehicles. Many business owners view the court’s ruling to be a violation of their privacy. Owners are having to choose between earning a living an having to give up their privacy as part of their business license requirements.

"Some GPS services also keep a log of the travel history of each vehicle which is a part of the fleet. This way, if the company wants to see which locations a particular vehicle has visited in the past or how much time it has spent in transit, it can check the history," explains

The travel history is now available to Chicago authorities to track all food trucks throughout the city.

Chicago’s Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection are happy with the court’s decision and claim that food truck regulations allow for a balance between the interests of restaurant and food truck owners.

Food truck trackers must be active while the vehicle is open for business. Trackers are required to send location data every five minutes. The data must be held for a period of at least six months by law so that the historical data of the vehicle is accessible to the authorities.

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