Senator Wants to Keep Women’s GPS Data Away From Stalkers

Alex Fitzpatrick, Mashable, Dec 17, 2012

Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota is championing the cause of data privacy — specifically, he wants to keep the smartphone locations of women and children a secret from stalkers and third-party companies. Franken’s new bill, the Location Protection Privacy Act of 2012, would outlaw so-called “stalking apps,” software specifically designed to track a person’s movements via their phone’s GPS signal and which is marketed for nefarious purposes. What are stalking apps used for?During testimony last week to the Senate Judiciary Committee, Franken told the story of a Minnesota woman whose abuser was sending threatening text messages based on her location.

For full text of the article, visit Senator Wants to Keep Women’s GPS Data Away From Stalkers.

Congressional Research Service Summary

Latest Title: Location Privacy Protection Act of 2011
Sponsor: Sen Franken, Al [MN] (introduced 6/16/2011)      Cosponsors (6)
Latest Major Action: 12/17/2012 Placed on Senate Legislative Calendar under General Orders. Calendar No. 567.


Location Privacy Protection Act of 2011 – Amends the federal criminal code to prohibit a nongovernmental individual or entity engaged in the business of offering or providing a service to electronic communications devices from knowingly collecting, obtaining, or disclosing to a nongovernmental individual or entity geolocation information from an electronic communications device without the express authorization of the individual using the device. Defines “geolocation information” as any information concerning the location of an electronic communications device and used to identify or approximate the location of the electronic communications device or the individual using the device. Makes exceptions: (1) necessary to locate a minor child or provide fire, medical public safety, or other emergency services; (2) for the sole purpose of transmitting the geolocation information to the individual or another authorized recipient; or (3) expressly required by state, regulation, or appropriate judicial process.

Requires an entity that provides geolocation information to: (1) provide notice that geolocation information relating to an individual is being disclosed to another individual; and (2) inform an individual on how such individual may revoke consent to the collection, receipt, recording, obtaining, and disclosure of geolocation information relating to the individual.

Authorizes civil actions by the Attorney General, state attorneys general, and aggrieved individuals for violations of this Act, subject to specified limitations.

Prohibits: (1) the unauthorized disclosure of geolocation information in aid of interstate domestic violence or stalking, and (2) the sale of geolocation information of not less than 1,000 children under age 11.

Directs: (1) the National Institute of Justice to conduct a national baseline study to examine the role of geolocation information in violence against women; (2) the Director of the Office on Violence Against Women to establish a task force to assist in the study’s development and implementation; (3) the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), in conjunction with the Director of the Bureau of Justice Assistance, to create a mechanism using the Internet Crime Complaint Center to register complaints of crimes the conduct of which was aided by use of geolocation information; and (4) the Attorney General to develop a national education curriculum to ensure that all courts, victim advocates, and state and local law enforcement personnel have access to information about relevant laws, practices, procedures, and policies for investigating and prosecuting the misuse of geolocation information.

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