Carrier IQ Row, Mobile Device Privacy Act Surfaces in Draft to Prevent Monitoring Software without User Consent

February 1, 2012, By Sanjeev Ramachandran

Remember the furor that broke out when a developer revealed that major network carriers and phone manufactures are collecting data from the devices through monitoring software like Carrier IQ.

Class action suits were filed against the practice, it being a crucial issue of privacy infringement in the US.

Making a new development to the privacy infringement scenario, US representative Edward Mackery, who is also the co-chairman of the bipartisan Congressional Privacy Caucus, has released a draft legislation that prevents any such initiative from companies in the country.

The sections in the draft makes it obligatory from the part of the network carriers and smartphone manufacturing companies to get the consent from the customers right at the time of purchase that they have no issues in running software like Carrier IQ on their devices.

The issue raised a lot of hue and cry that companies like Apple, Samsung, HTC and AT&T along with others in the industry came forward making statements that they are not collecting any personal information but just some data to improve the network experience and performance of the devices.

However, the draft when it turns to legislation is expected to prevent the companies from doing so without the expression of consent from the consumer.

Apart setting up such an obligation to the companies, the draft also suggests that the companies should take up stringent security measures when collecting and analyzing data from the users who have approved it. The draft points that such measures will avoid the misuse of personal information.

The legislation is still in discussion draft form, so it will take a while to be a law. The draft in its present format also directs the Federal Trade Commission to promulgate necessary regulations within a year of its enactment.

Well, right move indeed. We don’t like people sneaking into our gadget anyway.

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