Jan 152015
 

Geolocation is the term used to detect and record the exact location, in latitude and longitude, of where a signal-emitting device is located. Although these devises are usually cell phones, geolocation information can also be collected by using IP addresses and Wi-Fi signal strength. Many marketing companies track a consumer’s geolocation when they are near stores to send ads selling products or services. About a year ago, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) settled a complaint about a free mobile phone flashlight app which had been downloaded by tens of millions of consumers. This app also secretly collected and transmitted user’s personal information, including geolocation and unique device identifiers, to third parties. The FTC barred this company from misrepresenting its data collection, use and disclosure practices and required users to “opt in” before their information is collected and used. Critics say this is an example of how far marketers will go in their quest for consumer’s personal information and how important it is to protect our right to privacy. Geolocation technology has also been used by law enforcement agencies which have placed GPS tracking devices on suspect’s cars without a warrant. Police agencies say this is no big deal because they already receive cell phone tracking data from telephone companies. They claim this tool is needed to fight crime. Privacy advocates worry geolocation technology could be used to analyze the movements of whole populations in search of “suspicious” behavior.

Pending Legislation:

S.639 & H.R.1312 – Geolocational Privacy and Surveillance Act

I oppose reforming current geolocation policy and wish to defeat S.639 & H.R.1312

I support criminalizing the surreptitious tracking of individuals by private parties and requiring law enforcement to obtain a warrant prior to collecting geolocation information, and wish to pass S.639 & H.R.1312

 Posted by at 12:00 am
Jan 152015
 

Disclosures by former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden have revealed that the NSA is conducting a massive data gathering operation that targets every American. Named PRISM, this operation is a secret spy program that monitors and records all Internet activity, including website visits, online purchases and email exchanges. Revelations have also shown that our largest technology companies were paid millions of dollars for the access needed to monitor many millions of Americans accused of no wrong doing. Before this disclosure, companies such as Apple, Facebook, Yahoo and Google denied knowledge or complicity of this program. They claimed they were as stunned as everyone else when it was discovered that massive surveillance programs had been operating within their facilities since 2007. However, an NSA lawyer has since testified that these firms knew about PRISM the whole time, saying “They would have received legal process in order to assist the government.” News agencies recently reported that 9 out of 10 people identified in a large cache of online conversations intercepted by the NSA were ordinary Internet users and not foreign surveillance targets. However, some of these intercepts did include “discoveries of considerable intelligence value.” These included “fresh revelations about a secret overseas nuclear project, double-dealing by an ostensible ally, a military calamity that befell an unfriendly power, and the identities of aggressive intruders into US computer networks.” Privacy advocates say our government should not compile personal information about Americans not suspected of counterintelligence, terrorist or other illegal activity. They say the NSA should be required to adhere to clear civil liberties and privacy standards when accessing, collecting and storing personal information on its citizens.

Pending Legislation:

S.607 – Electronic Communications Privacy Act Amendments Act of 2013

I oppose reforming current PRISM policy and wish to defeat S.607

I support prohibiting a provider of computing or electronic communication services from knowingly divulging to any governmental entity the contents of any communication that is in electronic storage or otherwise maintained by the provider without a warrant; requiring a law enforcement agency, within 10 days after receiving the contents of a customer’s communication, to provide the customer a copy of the warrant and a notice that such information was requested by, and supplied to, the government entity, and wish to pass S.607

 Posted by at 12:00 am