At the close of the last Congress, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved an amended version of location data privacy legislation introduced by Sen. Al Franken (D-MN). However, the bill was not taken up by the full Senate, leaving Sen. Franken to begin the process anew in the 113th Congress. The amended legislation, like the introduced version, would generally require a mobile device user’s express authorization prior to collecting geolocation information from a device, subject to narrow exceptions. These restrictions would be enforceable by the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”), state attorneys general, and private plaintiffs.
Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) has also released a discussion draft of legislation on mobile app transparency, titled the Application Privacy, Protection, and Security Act of 2013 (“APPS Act”). The bill would require app developers to provide notice and obtain prior consent to data practices, with the format, timing, and manner of such notice to mobile app be regulated by the FTC. Users would also be able to request that apps stop collecting data from them, and either stop using or delete any data already collected. The legislation would be enforced by the FTC and state attorneys general, but there would be a safe harbor for companies that adhere to a mobile data privacy code of conduct produced through a multistakeholder process convened by the NTIA.