The legislation, which was introduced by Subcommittee Chairman Al Franken (D-MN) on March 27, 2014, would amend the Electronic Communications Privacy Act to require that companies obtain individuals’ permission before collecting location data from their smartphones, tablets, or in-car navigation devices, and before sharing such information with others.
Further, the bill would require any company collecting the location data of 1,000 or more devices to post online: (a) the types of data they collect; (b) how they share and use the data; and (c) how people can stop the collection or sharing of their location data. Additionally, the bill would ban the development, operation and sale of GPS stalking apps – and would allow law enforcement to seize the proceeds of those sales to fund anti-stalking efforts.
The bill is cosponsored by Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Chris Coons (D-DE), Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) (all except Sen. Warren are members of the Judiciary Committee). The bill does not have a House companion as yet.
The Subcommittee will hold its hearing on June 4 at 2:30 p.m. Administration witnesses will include: Bea Hanson, Principal Deputy Director of the Office on Violence Against Women at the Department of Justice; Jessica Rich, Director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection at the Federal Trade Commission; and Mark Goldstein, Director of Physical Infrastructure Issues at the U.S. Government Accountability Office.
A second panel of witnesses will include: Sally Greenberg, Executive Director of the National Consumers League; Detective Brian Hill from the Anoka County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigation Division (Andover, MN); and Cindy Southworth, Vice President of Development and Innovation at the National Network to End Domestic Violence.