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Apple: Update on Lawmaker Interest in Mobile Device Tracking

Written by Julie Babayan

An update of our continuing posts (here and here) on the grilling that Apple and Google are getting over collection of location information by mobile devices:   Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) has added his voice to those of other lawmakers like Congressman Ed Markey (D-MA) who are concerned over reports that Apple’s iPhones and Google’s Android phones collect, store and track users’ location information. Leahy is an author of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, and he mentioned in letters to Apple CEO Steve Jobs and Google CEO Larry Page that Congress is considering updating the 25 year-old law.

After Leahy invited Apple and Google to testify at an upcoming Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on consumer mobile privacy issues, the companies informed the committee that representatives from Apple and Google will indeed testify at the hearing on May 10.

Meanwhile, the co-chairs of the House Bi-Partisan Privacy Caucus, Ed Markey (D-MA) and Joe Barton (R-TX) stated today that responses from the four major U.S. wireless carriers about their data collection, storage and disclosure practices for customer proprietary network information (“CPNI”), including location data, indicate the need for Congressional action to protect consumer privacy.  The lawmakers had written letters to the carriers last month seeking information on their policies and procedures for complying with Section 222 of the Communications Act, which requires express prior authorization of the customer for use, disclosure of or access to location information for commercial purposes, along with other information on the collection and use of CPNI.

Finally, Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller said late yesterday that his committee will hold a hearing on consumer protection and privacy in the mobile marketplace, but has not given a specific date for the hearing.

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Cynthia J. Larose

Member / Chair, Privacy & Cybersecurity Practice

Cynthia J. Larose is Chair of the firm's Privacy & Cybersecurity Practice, a Certified Information Privacy Professional-US (CIPP-US), and a Certified Information Privacy Professional-Europe (CIPP-E). She works with clients in various industries to develop comprehensive information security programs on the front end, and provides timely counsel when it becomes necessary to respond to a data breach.