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Inside Privacy Updates on Developments in Global Privacy & Data Security from Covington & Burling LLP

Mobile Device Tracking Bill Introduced

Posted in Congress, Federal Communications Commission, Federal Trade Commission

A new bill introduced by Rep. Ed Markey, titled the Mobile Device Privacy Act, would require mobile device sellers, manufacturers, service providers, and app offerors to disclose to consumers the existence of any monitoring software.  Monitoring software is defined as “software that has the capability to monitor the usage of a mobile device or the location of the user and to transmit the information collected to another device or system.”  The entities would also have to disclose what type of information is subject to monitoring, who would be collecting or transmitting the information, and how the information would be used. 

Additionally, the bill would require any entity subject to the requirements above to obtain express consumer consent before the monitoring software collects any information.  Those same entities would also be required to develop information security policies regarding the information collected.

The bill charges the FTC with promulgating regulations to effect its requirements.  The FTC and FCC would have shared enforcement authority, and the bill also confers a private right of action on injured consumers.

Rep. Markey introduced the bill on September 12th, stating that mobile device tracking is a “significant societal issue that has to be discussed.”

The full text of the bill is available here.