This hearing will be called to order. Welcome to the
Three years ago, I held a hearing to look at how our laws were protecting the location information generated by smartphones, cellphones and tablets. The first group I heard from was the
I started investigating these stalking apps. Let me read you from some of their websites.
Here's one called SPYERA - quote: "Most of the time if you think your spouse is being unfaithful, you are right." "[SPYERA] will be your spy in their pocket." "[Y]ou will need to sneak your spouse's phone and download it to their phone." "After the software is downloaded... you will be able to see where they are geographically. If your husband is in two counties over from where you live, SPYERA will tell you that."
Here's another - quote: "FlexiSPY gives you total control of your partner's phone without them knowing it... See exactly where they are, or were, at any given date and time." Unquote.
And here's another quote that's since been taken down - quote: "Worried about your spouse cheating?" "Track EVERY text, EVERY call and EVERY Move They make Using our
These apps can be found online in minutes. And abusers find them and use them to stalk thousands of women around the country.
They later figured out that she was being tracked through a stalking app installed on her phone.
This doesn't just happen in
Here's one from a victim in
Here's one from a victim in
In most of these cases, the perpetrator was arrested - because it's illegal to stalk someone. But it's not clearly illegal to make and market and sell a stalking app. And so nothing happened to the companies making money off of stalking. Nothing happened to the stalking apps.
My bill would shut down these apps once and for all. It would clearly prohibit making, running, and selling apps and other devices that are designed to help stalkers track their victims. It would let police seize the money these companies make and use that money to actually prevent stalking. My bill will prioritize grants to the organizations that train and raise awareness around GPS stalking. And it would make the
But my bill doesn't protect just victims of stalking. It protects everyone who uses a smartphone, an in-car navigation device, or any mobile device connected to the Internet. My bill makes sure that if a company wants to get your location or give it out to others, they need to get your permission first.
I think that we all have a fundamental right to privacy: a right to control who gets your sensitive information, and with whom they share it. Someone who has a record of your location doesn't just know where you live. They know where you work and where you drop your kids off at school. They know church you attend, and the doctors you visit.
Location information is extremely sensitive. But it's not being protected the way it should be. In 2010, the
Since then, some of the most popular apps in the country have been found disclosing their users' precise location to third parties without their permission. And it's not just apps. The Nissan Leaf's on-board computer was found sending drivers' locations to third party websites.
The fact is most of this is totally legal. With only a few exceptions, if a company gets your location information over the Internet, they are free to give it to almost anyone they want.
My bill closes these loopholes. If a company wants to collect or share your location, it has to get your permission first and put up a post online saying what the company is doing with your data. Once a company is tracking you, it has to be transparent - or else it has to send you a reminder that you're being tracked.
Those requirements apply only to the first company getting location information from your device. For any other company getting large amounts of location data, all they have to do us put up a post online explaining what they're doing with that data.
That's it. These rules are built on existing industry best practices, and they have exceptions for emergencies, theft prevention, and parents tracking their kids. The bill is backed by the leading anti-domestic violence and consumer groups. Without objection, I'll add letters to the record from the
This is bill is just common sense.
Before I turn it over to my friend the Ranking Member, I want to make one thing clear. Location-based services are terrific. I use them all the time when I drive across
And so I've already taken into account many of the industry concerns that I heard when we debated this bill last
With that, I'll turn it over to Senator Flake.
Read this original document at: http://www.judiciary.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/06-04-14FrankenStatement.pdf
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