February 1, 2012
Mobile Device Privacy Act Meant To Prevent Carriers From Spying
A new bill passed by the U.S. government would require cellphone carriers to disclose details of tracking software installed on their customers' smartphones.
The bill has been made mandatory for all carriers to inform the subscribers about any tracking software installed on their devices.
The Mobile Device Privacy Act is an answer to the controversy of Carrier IQ, which is considered to be used by carriers to "spy" on their users.
According to the Bill, carriers would not have to disclose whether or not any tracking software is installed on a user's phone.
If tracking software is installed, the Bill would see that carriers immediately inform the users the purpose for installing the software.
Rep. Edward Markey (D-MA), co-chairman of the bipartisan Congressional Privacy Caucus, said software like CarrierIQ should only be used on a consumer's phone with the user's consent.
Under the draft legislation release by Markey, manufacturers would be prevented from collecting and transmitting information unless they receive consumer consent.
“Consumers have the right to know and to say no to the presence of software on their mobile devices that can collect and transmit their personal and sensitive information,” Markey said in a statement.
“While consumers rely on their phones, their phones relay all sorts of information about them, often without their knowledge or consent."
The draft is still early in the legislative process, and it could take a while before it starts being enforced.
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