Your cell phone is stalking you. That is the creepy revelation customers have been hearing in recent months with news that routinely installed software in the mobile devices reports the whereabouts of phone owners to service providers and manufacturers without their knowledge or consent. Now Minnesota Senator Al Franken is taking on the mobile giants, wanting to know precisely what they think they are doing taking this information without asking and what they are planning to do with it.
Franken has demanded that AT&T Inc, Sprint Nextel Corp, HTC Corp and Samsung Electronics Co detail the kind of data they take from this software on their smart-phones, how it is used and where it goes from there. The data includes the location of the cell phone user, the exact time when the owners turn their phones and off, the numbers that they have dialed and even the contents of email and text messages they have received, as well as website visits and even encrypted online search queries.
“This information appears to be logged in a manner undetectable by the average consumer,” Franken has told the four companies. “It also appears that when a consumer does become aware of this activity, he or she has no reasonable means to stop it.” Franken has introduced a bill to the Senate that would require cell phone companies to get phone users’ permission before tracking their location and giving that information to third parties.