Official Geolocation Privacy Bill Introduced: Say No To Unauthorized GPS Tracking
from the don't-track-me,-bro dept
Last week, we wrote about the plan by Senator Ron Wyden and Rep. Jason Chaffetz to simultaneously introduce bills in both houses of Congress to outlaw location tracking without consent. Those bills have now been officially introduced. The bill is mainly targeted at law enforcement officials who feel they can put GPS devices on cars without first getting a warrant (and the many courts that have backed them up on this). It appears that if this bill becomes law, law enforcement will have to (gasp!) actually get warrants to do GPS tracking.
The bill also does focus on private collection of geolocation data — and I had initially been a bit worried about that, since there are many cases where that might be reasonable (work related, or when someone purposely allows such info sharing, via services like Google Latitude). However, it looks like the bill has put exceptions in place for such situations. I’m not sure I understand the wisdom of a blanket statement and then exceptions, rather than specifically carving out what’s banned, but perhaps it makes sense. Others have pointed out that it would be nice if the bill included reporting on stats concerning how often the government accesses geolocation data, and I agree that would be useful. One reason why people don’t think too much about this is they don’t realize how frequently the government uses the power to get location data.