New Privacy Reform Legislation for Cell Phones

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Last updated April 12, 2019

A bill, which is currently being drafted by Oregon Senator Ron Wyden, will, if accepted, apply local privacy protection to a person’s geo-location information.

While we do not really think about it much, every one of us who owns a fairly new cell phone, can be tracked through GPS.  Police do it; tap into our cell phones.  Others do it; implant GPS bugs that let them keep track of us.  The problem is when it is acceptable to track a person and when does it cross the line?

Entitled the Geo-locational Privacy and Surveillance Act (GPS Act), the legislation addresses just that, asserting that information regarding one’s location should only be accessible via a warrant, unless it is an emergency or with previous consent.  The only other exception is, if your cell phone (or car) is stolen; it is okay to use the phone’s (or car’s) GPS to track down the thief.

The act is expected to gather support from internet companies, wireless providers, and civil libertarians.  Of course, on the opposing side no doubt will be law enforcement bodies and officials.

So far, there has not been a timeline given as to when the legislation will be introduced to the American population, but whenever it is, I believe it will be a good thing.  I know we all have to get used to less privacy.  Social media, the internet in general, and the widespread use of GPS have all served to put more of our information out there on public display.  However, this little bit of control over who accesses it and when will be welcome.