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Franken Bill Would Protect Consumers Location Data 90

GovTechGuy writes "Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) unveiled a new bill on Wednesday that would require firms like Apple and Google to obtain consent from consumers before collecting or sharing their smartphone location data with third parties. The bill would cover all mobile devices including tablets and require firms to inform consumers when they collect their data and allow them to delete it when requested."
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Franken Bill Would Protect Consumers Location Data

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  • define "collecting" (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Frequency Domain ( 601421 ) on Wednesday June 15, 2011 @03:51PM (#36454432)
    Apple had the data on the device and included it in a readable format in backups to your sync machine, but they weren't "collecting" it in any meaningful sense of the word. The info wasn't being sent back to Apple or to third parties without consent, it was used as a cache to speed local operations. Is caching now considered collecting?
  • Re:Um.... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 15, 2011 @03:58PM (#36454540)

    Yes, but it DOESN'T require your consent when it sends that location information, along with a unique device identifier, back to Apple.

    And if you think I'm referring to that whole thing a while back about how your iPhone "track you" in a secret file, I'm not. It turns out that whenever anything looks up a location on your iPhone - and this includes things like the camera! - the iPhone will look for nearby WiFi sites, and then upload your GPS coordinates along with a list of WiFi sites to Apple. This is sent along with an "anonymous" unique device ID.

    You can't opt out of that. Well, you can if you disable location services entirely for the entire phone. But if you're going to do that, you might as well get a cheaper phone that has no GPS.

    But even if you go that route with the iPhone, even with location services off, Apple still tracks your IP and uses geolocation services to determine your location if you use any app that uses iAd. And, again, you CAN'T opt out of this.

  • Re:Govt.? (Score:0, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 15, 2011 @05:23PM (#36455468)

    Does "third parties" include the government?

    Great question!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 15, 2011 @09:16PM (#36457894)

    All I can see is that I made 1 political donation, and now the FCC posted my information, name, address, age, political affiliations, and an insight into my financial status (how much I donated is how much disposable income I had at that time,) all over the internet for anyone to see. At no time was I warned that this would happen, nor did I opt in.

    I've opted into Google's services, and not 1 shred of my information shows up from that on the internet.

    I can't comment on Apple as I haven't given them the opportunity.

    Who exactly is the biggest threat here??

    Government: If you think the problems we create are bad, just wait till you see our solutions.

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