Senate Judiciary Committee Plans Geo-Location Tracking Hearing

The Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law has announced it will hold a hearing on June 4, 2014, regarding the Location Privacy Protection Act of 2014.

The legislation, which was introduced by Subcommittee Chairman Al Franken (D-MN) on March 27, 2014, would amend the Electronic Communications Privacy Act to require that companies obtain individuals’ permission before collecting location data from their smartphones, tablets, or in-car navigation devices, and before sharing such information with others.

Further, the bill would require any company collecting the location data of 1,000 or more devices to post online: (a) the types of data they collect; (b) how they share and use the data; and (c) how people can stop the collection or sharing of their location data. Additionally, the bill would ban the development, operation and sale of GPS stalking apps – and would allow law enforcement to seize the proceeds of those sales to fund anti-stalking efforts.

The bill is cosponsored by Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Chris Coons (D-DE), Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) (all except Sen. Warren are members of the Judiciary Committee). The bill does not have a House companion as yet.

The Subcommittee will hold its hearing on June 4 at 2:30 p.m. Administration witnesses will include: Bea Hanson, Principal Deputy Director of the Office on Violence Against Women at the Department of Justice; Jessica Rich, Director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection at the Federal Trade Commission; and Mark Goldstein, Director of Physical Infrastructure Issues at the U.S. Government Accountability Office.

A second panel of witnesses will include: Sally Greenberg, Executive Director of the National Consumers League; Detective Brian Hill from the Anoka County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigation Division (Andover, MN); and Cindy Southworth, Vice President of Development and Innovation at the National Network to End Domestic Violence.


DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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