Congressman Introduces Mobile Device Privacy Act

On Thursday, Congressman Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) made headlines by formally introducing the long-awaited Mobile Device Privacy Act. And it’s left people talking.

Rep. Markey, who is co-Chair of the Bi-Partisan Congressional Privacy Caucus, says “The Mobile Device Privacy Act” would require companies to disclose to consumers the capability to monitor telephone usage, as well as require express consent of the consumer prior to monitoring.

The “Mobile Device Privacy Act” protects consumers by requiring:

  • Disclosure of mobile telephone monitoring when a consumer buys a mobile phone; after sale, if the carrier, manufacturer, or operating system later installs monitoring software; and if a consumer downloads an app and that app contains monitoring software
  • The disclosure includes the fact that the monitoring software has been installed on the phone, the types of information that are collected, the identity of the parties to which the information is transmitted, and how such information will be used
  • Consumer consent before monitoring software begins collecting and transmitting information
  • The party receiving the personal information must have policies in place to secure the information
  • Agreements on information transmission must be filed at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
  • An enforcement regime for the FTC and FCC, along with State AG enforcement and a private right of action

“Consumers deserve to know what’s happening behind the scenes on their mobile phones,” said Free Press President and CEO, Craig Aaron. “Companies with no relationship to the wireless customer should not be given a free pass to collect and sell personal information under a veil of secrecy. This bill is a common sense solution to privacy concerns that all consumers worry about. We wholeheartedly support this measure and look forward to working with the Congressman and his staff to help move this bill forward.”