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GAO Recommends New Safeguards for Locational Data

"Additional Federal Actions Could Help Protect Consumer Privacy," a report from the Government Accountability Office, essentially says that users of mobile devices have no idea what information about them is collected or how it is used. The report explains that the privacy problems are getting worse as industry groups have failed to establish meaningful safeguards and the NTIA's "multistakeholder process" is going nowhere. Several members of Congress have introduced legislation to protect mobile data, much as communications information is routinely protected by law. Senator Al Franken is the sponsor of Location Privacy Protection Act of 2011, which would "close current loopholes in federal law by requiring any company that may obtain a customer's location information from his or her smartphone or other mobile device to get the customer's express consent before" collecting location data or sharing it with third parties. For more information, see EPIC: Locational Privacy and EPIC: Location Privacy: Apple iPhone/iPad.

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