UPDATE: It’s been three years since Sen. Al Franken introduced the Location Privacy Protection Act of 2011. And yes, it’s name has been changed 3 times. It is now the Location Privacy Protection Act of 2014. And yes, it’s still “in committee.” You can catch up with the latest draft of the bill here. It has changed much, so if you simply want an overview, read the 2011 summary below.
********************Original Article – October 28, 2011********************
Paranoid about Apple or Google tracking your every move? Well, Senator Al Franken thinks you should be, and has introduced a bill in the Senate to regulate geolocation tracking technology, known as the Location Privacy Protection Act, or simply S. 1223.
Phones Track You
Currently, when you buy an Apple iPhone or Google Android, Apple and Google have the ability to make your phone transmit your location to them. When combined with knowledge about your age, gender, and other information that may be collected from you, and aggregated with similar data from millions of other smartphone users, such technology makes for a powerful marketing tool.
But it also raises some privacy concerns. Do people really want smartphone providers to know where they are at all times? Are most customers even aware that they’re being tracked? How many people would volunteer to be tracked like this, particularly given the recent reports of major companies suffering severs hacks?
Summary of Location Privacy Protection Act Bill Proposal
The legislative summary of S. 1223 requires any company collecting geolocation data to obtain customers’ “express consent before” doing so, in addition to “express consent before sharing his or her location data with third parties.”
So what would the Location Privacy Protection Act mean for marketing companies? Well, they can expect to pay a lot more for their data. Since the proposed new law would require the express consent of participants, the “customer pool” will undoubtedly decrease because most people will opt out when presented with a clear option of whether or not their want to be location tracked.
Other provisions of the bill include studying how geolocation software is involved in violence against women, and how it is used in crimes in general. The Internet Crime Complaint Center will be used to receive reports of geolocation-related crimes, and the Attorney General will be required to submit a report on these crimes within eighteen months of the bill’s passage to various congressional committees.
If Passed, Will The Location Privacy Protection Act Have A Financial Effect On The Mobile Marketing Industry?
If smartphone companies can’t convince customers to participate in mobile tracking, there may also be a rise in companies — similar to television rating organizations — which will pay people to wear a tracking device. Instead, the geolocation-tracking equivalent to those organizations could just pay for the right to install a tracking app on a person’s phone and record their geolocation data.
The Location Privacy Protection Act Targets Businesses Both Big And Bity
The Location Privacy Protection Act won’t only be targeting large mobile phone providers, though. It also seeks to criminalize anyone who knowingly and willfully discloses geolocation information about an individual to another individual, knows that interstate domestic violence or stalking will occur because of the disclosure, and intends to aid in such an offense as a result of that disclosure. This means that the so-called “stalker apps” which have gotten much press in the last few months may soon attract criminal penalties for their developers.
Contact A Mobile Marketing Attorney
For more information on the Location Privacy Protection Act of
2011 2012 2013 2014 and how it may affect your marketing or other segments of your business, contact a qualified marketing lawyer.