updated 05:10 pm EDT, Mon April 23, 2012
Carrier trade association against privacy bill
A proposed privacy law requiring police to obtain warrants for handset tracking has been criticized by a trade association respresenting AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon, CNET has reported. CTIA - The Wireless Association wrote that the California law would "create greater confusion for wireless providers when responding to legitimate law enforcement requests."
S.B. 1413 would require a warrant for location-tracking data, except in an emergency, and would require network providers to declare the occasions when positioning data is handed over to law enforcement. CTIA argues that the state bill would "unduly burden wireless providers and their employees, who are working day and night to assist law enforcement to ensure the public's safety and to save lives" due to the reporting requirements and overly broad language of the law itself.
CTIA's criticism of the bill may be seen as giving free reign to large carriers in offering subscriber GPS coordinates to law enforcement whenever it is requested, and against protecting customer privacy. In a statement to CNET, Jamie Hastings of CTIA noted that the group wants to clarify the bill, to "ensure that wireless providers can provide lawful and timely information to legitimate law enforcement requests, and that there are no conflicts with federal law while protecting consumers' privacy."
Currently, carriers are paid at least $45 per request for customer location data.