I think, and others think, that it is time for the process servers GPS reality check. What do I mean by this? Simple, it is not all that everyone, including process service agencies, state it is in “verification” of services performed. I see some agencies advertising the end of all questions of proof the service was performed. Now we have GPS… We have Pictures…. Scientific proof…. Evidence it was served …
Just because there is a GPS report and a possible picture of the building; does this mean that everything else is true? Of course not and I get tired of agencies barking in their promotional material about it. Yes, I hate to say it, but a process server can drive by an address and take a picture of the building and still make up bogus service information on completions or attempts. And what about GPS SPOOFING?
So this article is saying that it will become a process service industry standard scares me to death that everyone may rely on this technology. Yes, I have used GPS on all our NYC serves for almost six years now but not because I questioned my servers but we used it for dispatch purposes. Yes, to be able to look on our computer screen to see where our people were when a client needed an extreme service completed or was close to a client premises who wanted something picked up. Ok Ok, we would also take a peek if they were late for the Monday morning meeting. But to use it to prove service of process. That was never our intention.
The Law Blogger
In the article, Jeff Kirkpatrick, a past president of the Michigan Court Officer Deputy Sheriff and Process Servers Association, stated that while the vast majority of process servers and court officers follow the law, a few “bad apples” sometimes utilize overreaching tactics.
In the near future, it will become an industry standard for court officers and process servers to utilize GPS tracking records to verify their movements relative to an attempted service. Nothing wrong with a little technological verification when it comes to something as important as achieving personal service.
Most process servers that utilize GPS carry a smart phone with the app and it is very easy for them to spoof the GPS information. An app developer who was one of the first to develop an app widely used in NYC states this:
GPS is bullshit. Tell your clients so they know
By Rob Dayton
I’m pretty up to date on the technology. I wrote one of those apps. In fact, I wrote the app that has market share in New York where all this started.
I wrote it because people wanted it. The truth is that there is no way to verify any of this crap!
To defeat ANY of the apps out there, all you have to do is Google “GPS SPOOFER”. You can get one for your iPhone or for your Androids and you can make it think you are anywhere at any time
When the DCA came out with their new regulations mandating the use of GPS it made it sound really official and scientific sound stating:
As of November 12, 2011, process servers must carry and operate an electronic device that records Global Positioning System (GPS) location while serving process. Key regulations include:
The device must make an electronic record of the date, time, and location of where process is served or attempted to be served using GPS or Assisted-Global Positioning (A-GPS) technology.
If a GPS signal is unavailable, the device must use triangulated cellular tower signals to establish the date and time when the record is made.
The device must transmit a completed record automatically to an independent third party contractor.
The contractor must store electronic records for seven years without allowing access for the process server to delete or alter the original records. The contractor must also make the electronic records available to DCA upon request.
I have never thought it scientifically sound but they do make it sound official. I wonder where they came up with the idea and verbiage for the new GPS and electronic records regulations. Probably from a GPS vendor somewhere who convinced them of how it works and the scientific evidence and maybe even proof the data cannot be altered. None the less, we in NYC have to do it as per law.
Some Process Serving programs have what has been reffered to as a “Cheater Meter” built in to flag servers who serve too fast or have completed too many etc. If the agency really needs to rely on these “Cheater Meters”, they might want to rework their hiring practices. Or maybe even have more training for the management/admin team. Anyone who has been on the street serving papers can tell a good process server from a questionable one just by looking at their services and talking to them.
The warning is not to be too dependant on the GPS reporting. Before hauling it into court as proof or evidence, think about it first. Any opposing attorney or right minded judge may think twice about relying on the GPS reposts and/or a picture as undisputed proof that the service was completed. The server may have the GPS coordinates and the picture but if the description is way off or the entity they supposedly served left years ago, someone is in trouble.
Our opinion is it still boils down to the process server and process server agency. How is their record in traverse hearings? Do they have a lot of them? If yes, why? This is one of the reasons I get a kick out of law firms that blindly call around the country looking for process servers without a clue as how to find a good one.
Our best advise for finding a process server out of your area is to start with your local agency. If they don’t want to handle it for you ask them about legitimate servers in that area.