Last year, Senator Al Franken of Minnesota introduced a location privacy bill to the U.S. Senate that cleared the Senate Judiciary committee but didn’t make it onto the floor. The bill (read the text here) would have stopped the pernicious practice by corporate America of selling information about your location that you generate when you use a smartphone. You did know that information about where you go every day is being bought and sold, didn’t you? What, you mean they didn’t tell you? Exactly. Al Franken’s legislation would have made corporations get your express consent before collecting and sharing your location data, and it would have introduced criminal penalties for violators. The bill was cosponsored in 2012 by 5 Democrats and the Independent Bernie Sanders. Not a single Republican supported your location privacy.
Signs are strong that Senator Franken will reintroduce his bill. A Twitter campaign has recently been unleashed in which people are tweeting out the message I just signed on to support @alfranken’s fight for location privacy. Click here to learn more and join the movement: bit.ly/VV1Mhd.
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I suppose that Senator Franken is being consistent; at least he’s sort of openly-if-you-look-hard telling you that he’ll be selling your location data too.
And how about those tweeters? Turns out they’re a pretty privacy-conscious bunch. Of the 1,359 people who have tweeted that message so far this year, only 2 have forgotten to turn off the Twitter feature that automatically shares their geographic location every time they Tweet.