Rep. Edward Markey [D-MA-7] has prepared draft legislation of the “Mobile Device Privacy Act” relative to last year’s disclosure of geolocation of cellphones by the company Carrier IQ to communication carriers, telephone equipment manufactures, and operating systems manufacturers like Apple and Google.
In a follow-up last week, The Washington Post writes: “The push for legislation comes after it was found that a piece of software called Carrier IQ was installed in about 150 cellphones from AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile. The software recorded data such as carrier networks, data transmission speeds, phone numbers called, Web sites visited and battery life. The software was designed to tell mobile carriers about the status of their networks, but the company admitted in December that its software might have captured keystrokes or the content of messages by accident.”
Rep.Markey wants the Federal Trade Commission to investigate whether Carrier IQ was being unfair or deceptive toward consumers, saying that the software raised serious privacy concerns. Federal investigators are believed to be investigating those allegations.
In a press release from Markey’s office he states: “Consumers may have no idea that through monitoring software their mobile devices are transmitting personal information, including who is called and what is typed in text messages, to third parties, including companies such as Carrier IQ. The presence of this type of monitoring software on mobile devices should be disclosed to consumers, says Congressman Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), co-Chair of the Bi-Partisan Congressional Privacy Caucus. Which is why today, Rep. Markey released a discussion draft of “The Mobile Device Privacy Act,” legislation that would require companies to disclose to consumers the capability to monitor telephone usage, as well as require express consent of the consumer prior to monitoring. News broke last month that Carrier IQ software installed on millions of smart phones and mobile devices can track every keystroke of users and send the information back to the software company without user knowledge or permission.”
Representative Markey states his “Mobile Device Privacy Act” would protect consumers by requiring:
- Disclosure of mobile telephone monitoring software, including when a consumer buys a mobile phone; after sale, if the carrier, manufacturer, or operating system later installs monitoring software; and if a consumer downloads an app and that app contains monitoring
- Disclosure to include the fact that the monitoring software has been installed on the phone, the types of information that are collected, the identity of the third party to which the information is transmitted, and how such information will be used.
- Consumer consent be obtained before monitoring software begins collecting and transmitting information.
- Third party receiving the personal information must have policies in place to secure the information.
- Agreements on transmission to third parties must be filed at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
- Outline an enforcement regime for the FTC and FCC, along with State Attorney General enforcement and a private right of action.
Link to Representative Markey’s 15-page draft of his “Mobile Device Privacy Act” is at:
ISPLA Director of Government Affairs