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Car tracking can enable domestic abuse. Why turning it off is easier said than done

Having a restraining order against your former partner and a judge granting you possession of a family car should be enough to get a car manufacturer to turn off location tracking, right? 


That scenario has happened to domestic abuse survivors CalMatters spoke to and the law as written hasn’t been enough to help. 

Abusive partners increasingly use technology to exercise control, monitor, and continue to abuse their victims. A person with remote access to a vehicle via smartphone app can turn a car on or off, record video, lock or unlock the doors, and track a car in real time or see where the car has been in the past.

To protect domestic violence survivors from tech-enabled violence, California lawmakers are considering a trio of bills this month:

  • Senate Bill 1394 by Sen. Dave Min, an Irvine Democrat, would end tracking of vehicles owned by domestic violence survivors who give proof of possession or exclusive use, including as ordered in a restraining order, dissolution decree, temporary court order, title, or other proof.
  • SB 1000 by Democratic Sens. Angelique Ashby of Sacramento and Susan Rubio of West Covina would deny abusers, following a request by a survivor,  access to devices that can connect to the internet.

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