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US Mobile Device Privacy Act reaches first draft

updated 03:30 pm EST, Mon January 30, 2012

Markey intros cellphone privacy act draft bill

Congressman Ed Markey, known for criticizing Carrier IQ and the carriers that support it, has now proposed a draft bill (PDF) that aims to protect the privacy of cellphone users. The Mobile Device Privacy Act would order companies to publicly disclose whether they are using tracking software such as Carrier IQ, according to a Monday report found in the The Hill. It would also require them to reveal what information is collected and give users a consent option.

What's more, the third parties that collect the data would need to protect the data they collect with policies. The companies would need to apply at the FCC and FTC to begin collecting data.

The measures were put forward after the controversial Carrier IQ software was found to be hidden from users. While the code has since been found relatively innocuous in sending just anonymous diagnostics, users often have no control over it short of rooting their phones to purge it from the firmware. Carrier IQ has an opt-in or opt-out capability, but it's at the discretion of carriers whether or not they want to enable it.

Markey is on the House Energy and Commerce Committee and is the co-chairman of the Congressional Privacy Caucus.

by MacNN Staff



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