New bill would require consumers be notified of any Carrier IQ-like tracking software on their devicesAlex Wagner - Senior News Editor
There was a bit of a brouhaha that erupted late last year over Carrier IQ and the information collected by its cell phone tracking software. The noise surrounding Carrier IQ has died down a bit as of late as more information about the software comes out and some companies remove it from their products, but a new bill has been introduced to the House of Representatives in an attempt to prevent a similar situation from cropping up again. The bill, dubbed "The Mobile Device Privacy Act," would require that consumers be made aware of any tracking software on their handsets and would also only allow the software to monitor usage after the user gives his or her consent. The requirements included with the bill are:
- Consumers must be made aware of any monitoring software on a device when they buy it. Additionally, the user must be alerted if any such software is installed after the purchase is made or if he or she downloads an app with monitoring software.
- Disclosures must explain that the software has been installed, what types of information will be collected, which third parties will receive the info, and how that info will be used.
- Consumer must give consent before the monitoring software starts gathering data.
- Third parties that receive data must secure it.
- Third parties need to file transmission agreements with the FTC and FCC.
- An "enforcement regime" must be outlined for the FTC and FCC, and both State Attorney General enforcement and private right of action must also be planned
It's not a surprise to see that some sort of bill addressing the Carrier IQ mess has been introduced, especially after the situation began gaining attention from folks like Senator Al Franken. Whether or not the bill will actually pass remains to be seen, but I'm sure many folks would appreciate the transparency that it'd bring if it did. We'll keep an eye on it as goes through the paces in the government and let you know of any major developments that occur. What do you all make of this bill? Would you like to see it become a law?