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Mobile Device Privacy Act – Draft Legislation Would Require Disclosure of Wireless Monitoring

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The other legislative shoe has finally dropped. Following multiple letters from congressional privacy leaders about Carrier IQ, Congress finally proposed draft legislation that would require wireless companies to disclose any and all tracking of customers. The bill is named “The Mobile Device Privacy Act” and was introduced in the U.S. House on Monday, January 30th 2012.

This bill would require that companies secure informed consent from users prior to any collection or transmission of personal information, and transmission of data to third parties would require approval from the FTC and FCC, setting a surprisingly high bar. The bill’s sponsor, Representative Edward Markey (D-MA), said in a statement on his Web site that “consumers have the right to know and say no to the presence of software on their mobile devices that can collect and transmit their personal and sensitive information.”

Here’s what the bill would require:

  • Monitoring software must be disclosed at the time of purchase of any mobile phone (as well as after the initial sale if monitoring software is later installed or activated.)
  • Companies must get informed consent from consumers before any monitoring or data transfer takes place.
  • Any monitoring data must be stored in a secure manner.
  • App developers must disclose any monitoring functionality in their applications.
  • Disclosures under the bill must explicitly state whether monitoring software is installed; and provide detailed information on the information collected, where it is transmitted, and how it is used.

As anyone who watched the Electric Company on PBS as a child will recall, this bill has a long way to go before becoming the law of the land. However, early indications are that it will have strong support in both houses of congress. PrivacyCast strongly recommends contacting your congress critters and letting them know that you support this proposed legislation.

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  1. Aubrey Brooke says:

    NICE! Great to see our legislators working for the people instead. I’m sure there will be a lot of lobbying by wireless companies to shut this down.


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