Posts Tagged ‘congressional privacy caucus’

Preventing Another Carrier IQ: Introducing the Mobile Device Privacy Act

September 14th, 2012 09:50 admin View Comments


MrSeb writes “Lawmakers in Washington have turned their sights on mobile device tracking, proposing legislation aimed at making it much harder for companies to track you without consent. The Mobile Device Privacy Act (PDF) makes it illegal for companies to monitor device users without their expressed consent. The bill was introduced Thursday by Massachusetts Democrat Representative Edward Markey, co-Chair of the Bi-Partisan Congressional Privacy Caucus. Much of the impetus for the bill came from last year’s Carrier IQ debacle, where it emerged that the company’s software was found to exist on both iOS and Android devices on AT&T and Sprint’s networks. While the company denied any wrongdoing, the software captured keystrokes and sent the details of your device usage back to the carriers. If passed, the legislation would require the disclosure of including tracking software at the time of the purchase of the phone, or during ownership if a software update or app would add such software to the device, and the consumer gains the right to refuse to be tracked. This disclosure must include what types of information is collected, who it is transmitted to, and how it will be used.”

Source: Preventing Another Carrier IQ: Introducing the Mobile Device Privacy Act

Congressman Releases Draft of Legislation On Domestic Drones and Privacy

August 2nd, 2012 08:25 admin View Comments


An anonymous reader writes “Police would be required to get a warrant to use drones for certain types of surveillance under legislation introduced on Capitol Hill. The proposed bill would also tighten regulations on what kind of data can be collected by the government and private companies and how it can be used. To safeguard against abuses, Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), co-chair of the Bipartisan Congressional Privacy Caucus and a longtime member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, released a draft of the Drone Aircraft Privacy and Transparency Act of 2012 on Wednesday.” In related news, garymortimer points out that a North Dakota court has preliminarily upheld the first-ever use of an unmanned drone to assist in the arrest of an American citizen.

Source: Congressman Releases Draft of Legislation On Domestic Drones and Privacy

Congressmen Wary of Facebook Patent That Seeks to Track User Information

January 10th, 2012 01:30 admin View Comments

Facebook Logo_150x150.jpgThe Hill reports that Reps. Edward Markey (D-Mass) and Joe Barton (R-Texas), co-chairmen of the Congressional Privacy Caucus, have accused Facebook of evading questions related to whether it tracks users’ online activities to deliver more targeted ads.

The congressmen were not satisfied with Facebook’s response to questions raised by a February 2011 patent filing. It suggested that the social network tracked users when they were logged off and browsing other non-Facebook sites.

Facebook’s letter referenced a full audit of Facebook’s non-U.S. completed in December 2011 by the Irish Data Protection Commissioner, which instructed the social network to stop retaining advertising data indefinitely.

It also recommended improvements for how data is logged when people access websites with social plugins. The idea is to minimize the amount of information collected about people who are not logged in to Facebook, according to reports from ZDNet.

In its letter to Reps. Edward Markey (D-Mass) and Joe Barton (R-Texas), Facebook also discussed location-based advertising.

Facebook says that it gives the advertiser an opportunity to choose the audience based on information Facebook receives about location, including: people who say they live in a specific city, check in somewhere, or specify a location in a status update. As such, the user willingly provides the information to Facebook, who in turn hands it over to the advertiser.

The congressmen remained concerned about the possibility of targeted advertising.

“The main questions of whether Facebook has considered using third-party tracking data to build user profiles or employs user-provided data to target advertising remain unanswered from the company’s response to our letter,” writes Markey in a statement.

“Additionally in its response to us, Facebook states that it uses consumer-provided data for ‘internal operations, including data analysis, research, development, and service improvement’ yet provides no description of what these activities entail or how they affect consumer privacy,” Markey continues.

The congressmen were not satisfied with Facebook’s response.

“Facebook’s seems to be saying one thing and doing another,” said Rep. Barton. “In the company’s response, it talks a lot about how they don’t currently ‘track’ users online, but they just asked for a patent that would allow them to do just that. Why ask for something you don’t ever plan on using?”

Facebook settled with the FTC last November. Earlier this month, the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) requested that the FTC investigate possible Timeline privacy breaches.

Source: Congressmen Wary of Facebook Patent That Seeks to Track User Information