Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Franken, Congress Pursue Smartphone Privacy Legislation

Ever since it was revealed in April that mobile device applications and OS makers can monitor and store smartphone user tracking and location data, possibly compromising private browsing from a mobile phone, consumers have been clamoring for more privacy. The technology giants claim their recording of the data is completely innocuous, but customers do like to be in the driver's seat when privacy is concerned. In response, Sens. Al Franken (D-Minn.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) unveiled a bill Wednesday that would require communication tech firms, along with app developers, to obtain consent before collecting or sharing consumers' location data.

The bill would require firms to get customers' expressed consent before collecting location data from their smartphones or mobile devices. Any firm that obtains location data from more than 5,000 mobile devices must take reasonable steps towards identity protection, deleting data if requested by the customer.

There are instances where mobile phone OS providers kept geo-location data, regardless if users hide an IP address. In certain cases, OS and app providers did not ask users if they wished to opt out of this info storage. Several firms have since sworn that no customer information has been shared without consent. The Franken bill would make this pledge mandatory.

“Geolocation technology gives us incredible benefits, but the same information that allows emergency responders to locate us when we're in trouble is not necessarily information all of us want to share with the rest of the world,” Franken said in a statement. “This legislation would give people the right to know what geolocation data is being collected about them and ensure they give their consent before it’s shared with others."

With smartphones constantly searching for public Wi-Fi connections you can utilize on the go, your personal information can be easily pick-pocketed. In this age of constant info connection, many smartphone users have eased privacy concerns by using a VPN service to browse in private. has features that can lock up your smartphone info so you can browse anywhere without fear. Be sure to read the privacy policies of all apps you download..