A new mobile privacy bill has been proposed by two senators, following an uproar through the media about Google and Apple devices capable of tracking and collecting information about the user of a mobile device.
The upset – which has been labeled “Locationgate” – began in April 2011 when an open source application was released by two British researchers, allowing Apple customers to see what data was being stored on their 3G iPads and iPhones regarding their locations. The shake-up soon came to include Google customers and their devices, as well.
The bill that was introduced to the Senate would cause mobile device manufacturers and the developers of apps to have to “receive express consent” from the users of the devices before they are permitted to participate in “collecting or sharing information about those users’ location with third parties.”
Co-sponsoring the bill were Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn) and Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn). It has been called the Location Privacy Protection Act of 2011.
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According to lawmakers, this new bill would be capable of eliminating “loopholes in current federal law to ensure that consumers know what location information is being collected”. It would also give the device users control over whether or not they would like the collected data to be shared.
Senator Franken conceded that obtaining the location information can be highly useful, as this data – which provides emergency responders to discover an individual’s location in a time of crisis – is not something that many people will want to be available to just anyone.
Though it has been Google and Apple that have been drawing the majority of the attention regarding this issue, wireless carriers are also starting to be pulled into the limelight, as well. In response, Verizon Wireless has stated that it would begin placing warning stickers saying “we can track you!” on applicable products.