Rep. Markey proposes cell phone privacy bill

By Eric W. Dolan
Monday, January 30, 2012 18:12 EDT
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A person holding an iPhone (AFP)
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On Monday, Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) released a draft of The Mobile Device Privacy Act, legislation that would prohibit companies from installing monitoring software on mobile devices without the user’s knowledge or consent.

“Consumers have the right to know and to say no to the presence of software on their mobile devices that can collect and transmit their personal and sensitive information,” said Markey, a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

The bill would require companies to disclose software on mobile devices that logged or tracked user information. It would also require those companies to disclose the types of information that are collected, the identity of the third party to which the information is transmitted, and how such information will be used.

The proposal comes after fears that Carrier IQ software installed on cell phones was being used to log and track user information without their knowledge or consent. The company that produced the widely-installed software denied the claims, saying the software was only used as a diagnostic tool.

“While consumers rely on their phones, their phones relay all sorts of information about them, often without their knowledge or consent,” Markey said. “I am concerned about the threat to consumers’ privacy posed by electronic monitoring software on mobile phones, such as the software developed by Carrier IQ.”

“I look forward to working with stakeholders on my legislation and collaborating with my colleagues prior to the formal introduction of the final legislation.”

Eric W. Dolan
Eric W. Dolan
Eric W. Dolan has served as an editor for Raw Story since August 2010, and is based out of Sacramento, California. He grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and received a Bachelor of Science from Bradley University. Eric is also the publisher and editor of PsyPost. You can follow him on Twitter @ewdolan.
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