EPIC Backs House Members’ Call for Location Data Rules

December 10, 2021

EPIC has endorsed a letter from Rep. Katie Porter, Rep. Jamie Raskin, and 42 other House members calling on the Federal Trade Commission and Federal Communications Commission to establish rules against the collection and sale of consumers’ location data. The letter urges the FTC to prohibit app developers engaging in the “sale, transfer, use, or purchase of precise location data collected by an app for purposes other than the essential function of the app” and to enforce the prohibition through civil penalties. The letter also calls on the FCC to reaffirm through rulemaking that location data collected by mobile carriers is subject to privacy safeguards—including data recorded when a subscriber’s mobile device is idle. “While we applaud the agencies’ commitments to consumer privacy and safety, it is clear that more needs to be done,” the letter reads. “To that end, we ask that your agencies take … steps to better protect the safety and privacy of consumers.” EPIC has long advocated for protection of location privacy. EPIC pursued a lawsuit against a mobile app company that led to greater protection of users’ location data, and EPIC filed an amicus brief in Carpenter v. United States, a case in which the Supreme Court held that the Fourth Amendment protects cell site location information. EPIC and coalition partners recently called on the Federal Trade Commission protect against abusive data practices, including the misuse of location data. In 2005, EPIC successfully petitioned the FCC to establish more stringent security standards for the protection of mobile subscriber data.

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