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United States Government Privacy Your Rights Online Technology

FTC Lobbies To Be Top Cop For Geolocation 39

Posted by samzenpus
from the king-of-the-hill dept.
chicksdaddy (814965) writes 'As the U.S. Senate considers draft legislation governing the commercial use of location data, The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is asking Congress to make it — not the Department of Justice — the chief rule maker and enforcer of policies for the collection and sharing of geolocation information, the Security Ledger reports.

Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection, told the Senate Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee for Privacy, Technology that the Commission would like to see changes to the wording of the Location Privacy Protection Act of 2014 (LPPA) . The LPPA is draft legislation introduced by Sen. Al Franken that carves out new consumer protections for location data sent and received by mobile phones, tablets and other portable computing devices. Rich said that the FTC, as the U.S. Government's leading privacy enforcement agency, should be given rule making and enforcement authority for the civil provisions of the LPPA. The current draft of the law instead gives that authority to the Department of Justice.

The LPPA updates the Electronic Communications Privacy Act to take into account the widespread and availability and commercial use of geolocation information provided. LPPA requires that companies get individuals' permission before collecting location data off of smartphones, tablets, or in-car navigation devices, and before sharing it with others.

It would prevent what Franken refers to as "GPS stalking," preventing companies from collecting location data in secret. LPPA also requires companies to reveal the kinds of data they collect and how they share and use it, bans the development, operation, and sale of GPS stalking apps and requires the federal government to collect data on GPS stalking and facilitate reporting of GPS stalking by the public.'
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FTC Lobbies To Be Top Cop For Geolocation

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  • Just pass a law and let the states or local federal courts deal with it. The government doesnt need anymore power.

  • by Guppy06 (410832) on Thursday June 05, 2014 @07:10PM (#47175841)

    Rich said that the FTC, as the U.S. Government's leading privacy enforcement agency, should be given rule making and enforcement authority for the civil provisions of the LPPA.

    Considering how existing US privacy enforcement is an absolute joke, I think I'd rather try something new instead of "more of the same." Maybe the FTC could better spend their time, I don't know, jailing the traders that broke the economy?

    • by Pseudonym (62607)

      Maybe the FTC could better spend their time, I don't know, jailing the traders that broke the economy?

      There's an idea. They certainly couldn't do a worse job of it than the SEC, right?

  • by macraig (621737) <mark.a.craigNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday June 05, 2014 @07:12PM (#47175855)

    Since these "commissions" like the FTC, FDA, and FCC have even more obvious problems with revolving doors then even the DoJ does, I doubt it would be a good idea at all to hand this off to the likes of an FTC staffed by former Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, and telecom execs.

  • by dbc (135354) on Thursday June 05, 2014 @07:41PM (#47176033)

    So, according to the summary, it puts limits on commercial use of GPS tracking data. Where does it limit government use of GPS tracking data?

  • It would prevent what Franken refers to as "GPS stalking," preventing companies from collecting location data in secret.

    You mean, punish companies that get caught collecting location data in secret?
    If risk of getting caught * value of data collection average fine, then profit!

    Laws don't prevent anything, they discourage it.

    • by NoKaOi (1415755)

      Laws don't prevent anything, they discourage it.

      Not even that. In this case all it means is an updated EULA, where buried on page 15 will be a statement about their collection of location data, which everyone will simply click "agree" to. There will be a few stories about it on /. ("So-and-so big company collecting all your location data!"), and nobody but /. readers will care so long as the app continues to let them put fish-faced selfies somewhere that their "friends" (really their friend's friend's older cousin's barista's little sister) can see it

  • I don't see why Franken would want do give consumer protection authority to the Justice department rather than the FTC; that's why the FTC exists. Well, other than the fact that Franken is clueless; but I suppose you should assume that when you elect a TV comic to the Senate.
    • by thrich81 (1357561)

      You mean the Al Franken who graduated cum laude from Harvard with a degree in Government and who visited the troops in Kosovo and Iraq on some of his seven USO tours. Author of five published books. You can point to someone better qualified for the Senate -- perhaps some Wall Street titan or Fortune 500 CEO?

      • by tomhath (637240)
        Twenty years of writing Stuart Smalley scripts and a couple of handshake tours qualify a person for the Senate? Oh, and one book of satire that was rewritten five times. I suppose he's better qualified than a community organizer or former First Lady
        • Last I checked the only qualifications you need to be in the Senate are that you be at least 30 years old, a U.S. citizen for at least nine years at the time of election to the Senate, and a resident of the state one is elected to represent in the Senate. You seem to be under the impression there is some kind of unwritten standard that isn't being upheld - nothing could be further from the truth.

          You're awfully quick to dismiss a Harvard degree in government and a long time career as a political activist/sa

      • by sabbede (2678435)
        I listened to his show on AirAmerica a few times. I was not impressed. His analysis was awful, and he sounded like he was suffering a crushing depression.
  • The problem with notification legislation it does nothing to address real world privacy violations. Lets look at Windows phone 8 for instance.

    When you first set it up and wade thru arrays of privacy notices, license agreements and constantly nagged to allow something to upload all of your data, log your actions and tracking your location.

    Even after answering no and everything off the system is configured in such a manner when you turn on "location" to use a local mapping application you also give MS the ri

  • Why is it that some websites/servers ask to access my GPS location? I am cool with them knowing my _general_ area like city or or town but not my drone-strikeable exact location down to a few meters. I blame the web browser. The application or web browser should give the user a choice of how detailed of a location (or even a bogus one) to pass on to a particular site. Actually, you know what .. I blame the operating system too. Why should locations be exact or nothing? When an application requests your loca

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