One United States Senator is pushing for new laws restricting the authorities’ right to track people via their cell phones and other such technologies without first obtaining a search warrant. Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) believes that new ground rules need to be in place for protecting the privacy of the average American citizen.
“I think a lot of people have not really put their arms around the dimensions of this, the fact that everybody’s got a handheld electronic device, a cell phone, a GPS system,” Wyden says. “Everybody’s carrying them around everywhere and probably aren’t thinking that much about the fact that someone may be keeping tabs on them.” Wyden has become a strong advocate of the need for greater electronic privacy in the Senate. His proposal, named the Geolocational Privacy and Surveillance Act, or GPS Act, is certain to receive strong support from the likes of internet companies and civil libertarians. Police and law enforcement, however, are likely to be less thrilled with the proposal, with many claiming such laws “will have a significant slowing effect on the processing of child exploitation leads”, according to an agent in the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.
“It’s really up to Congress to step in and provide clear rules for both the government and companies and judges that are faced with these issues,” says Electronic Frontier Foundation senior staff attorney Kevin Bankston. “That’s the only way to bring the necessary clarity to the location privacy situation.”