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.

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Comments on “Official Geolocation Privacy Bill Introduced: Say No To Unauthorized GPS Tracking”

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15 Comments
iBelieve says:

If this law passes, Law Enforcement will be forced to use some pretty unsavory methods at their disposal to acquire evidence to ~get those warrants. Sneaking around like Navy Seals at night, eating donuts and doing dirty deeds, creating a completely new wave of TV shows will be the next Really Big Thing. “Get That Warrant”, on the Travel Channel, sponsored by Dupont, “We’re bringing you the chemicals in your face you can live with”.. AND by Smith & Wesson, “Don’t Mess with US”. The word ‘privacy’ will be officially omitted from ALL dictionaries in the very near future ‘Under Penalty of Law’ sort of like China’s ‘protest squashing’ and Tuscany’s gafildafish fights.

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