New Mobile Device Privacy Act To Expose And Regulate Tracking Software

In light of all the Carrier IQ controversies that have accrued since the software capabilities were exposed to the world, Congress has introduced a draft bill titled "The Mobile Device Privacy Act," which looks to disclose all details about tracking software like the aformentioned, and what information it will be taking.

The bill would require opt-in consent for any data taken by such tracking software, and for companies who make said software to gain permission from the FTC and FCC in the process.  It's been a long time coming for citizens who have been under this semi-unknown surveillance; but this right to know and be asked permission for the collection and transmission of your data should be second nature in a technologically capable world like ours.

The requirements are put as so:

  • A customer must be informed of any Monitoring software on the phone before buying, and also after if any software is installed during the buying process.
  • App developers who include tracking software must make this public.
  • All details must be disclosed: what monitoring software has been installed, what information its collecting, where will it be transmitted, how will it be used.
  • Every piece of tracking software is activated only by opt-in consent from the Consumer (you have to give it permission).
  • All data must be firmly secured on the receiver's end.

This is yet to face much political discussion on the floor before it's passed; but in the American vacuum it's difficult to see how this could affect the international contexts.  Phone carriers in the UK may have denied their usage of Carrier IQ, but that doesn't stop manufacturers from having it installed, or that there isn't any other types of software that do, elementally, the same thing.

If one thing's for sure, in the face of SOPA, here's an act in the realm of technology that actually sort of makes sense.

Source: Mobile Device Privacy Act (pdf)