Tech companies are welcoming legislation introduced today to update electronic privacy laws that were written before most people carried cell phones. The GPS Act introduced in both the House and Senate would fix a geolocation privacy loophole that curbs both civil liberties and the growth of this industry.
The following comments on the GPS Act introduced by Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, can be attributed to Computer & Communications Industry Association President & CEO Ed Black:
“The GPS Act is vital to protect the privacy and civil liberties of Americans and to set standards that give businesses certainty and citizens greater confidence in their privacy. This is one of several critical privacy policies, which if properly resolved, can have a positive impact on stakeholders from customers to investors and can help boost a booming sector of our economy. We appreciate Senator Wyden and Congressman Chaffetz for their effort to better protect cell phone users.
“Advancing geolocation technology has created a loophole in our outdated electronic privacy rules. Congress must fix this. Otherwise the intent of the original law, as well as the reasonable expectation of privacy in one’s whereabouts, will be undermined. Massive facile monitoring of citizens by government is not the direction we want to go in a free society.
“As the mobile technology industry grows, it’s time to update the law so that consumer protections keep up. Mobile technologies have proven to be among the most transformative of the information age over the past decade. Their effects have been felt in everything from emergency response to the fall of dictatorships. The economic benefits of mobile access are hard to dispute. The mobile industry accounted for $195.5 billion in contribution to GDP and 3.8 million jobs in 2011 alone. This growth is dependent on the trust of customers, so CCIA appreciates the introduction of the GPS Act so that companies are not put in the awkward position of having to turn over customer data to the government without a warrant.