Meena Harris writes:
This week, the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law held a hearing to discuss the Location Privacy Protection Act of 2014, a bill reintroduced in March by Senator Al Franken (D-MN). Most concerned with the potential for misuse and abuse of location data for purposes of stalking and perpetrating domestic violence, Senator Franken, who chairs the Subcommittee on Privacy, made clear at the hearing his view that, “Stalking apps must be shut down.” Franken clarified, however, that his bill is not only intended to protect victims of stalking, but provides basic privacy safeguards for sensitive location information pertaining to all consumers. Most critically, Senator Franken suggested that because location data lacks sufficient legislative protection, some of the most popular apps used widely by average consumers have been found to disclose users’ precise location to third parties without obtaining user permission. Further, he noted that in light of stalking apps that are deceptively labeled as something else, such as “parental monitoring,” it is necessary to create a law with basic rules for any service that collects location information.
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