Received this e-mail from Senator Al Franken (D. MN) today:
If you’re reading this email on a smartphone, GPS technology can pinpoint your current location within 10 meters.

Someone with that kind of location information doesn’t just know where you live. They know where you go to church and where you drop your kids off at school, the roads you take to work and the doctors you visit.

So, this is pretty sensitive information. But the companies that collect it don’t protect it the way they should. Many applications that collect location information give that information to third parties without users’ knowledge.

That’s dangerous -- and I’m trying to stop it. Will you help? Click here to sign my petition and help me protect location privacy:


I want to make sure that, if a company is going to collect information about your location -- and especially if they’re going to share it with a third party -- it gets your permission first.

And I definitely want to stop companies from developing applications that are specifically designed to help abusers stalk their victims. Yes. Those exist.

I’m proud to be working with groups that protect victims of domestic abuse -- as well as people on both sides of the aisle -- on this important effort.

Now I need your help.

If we’re going to get this done, Washington needs to hear from you. Will you join my fight to protect location privacy by clicking here?


Don’t get me wrong -- many of the companies collecting and sharing information are providing a valuable service, and many have honorable intentions.

Still: If you own a smartphone, you should be concerned about the way your sensitive information is being collected and shared. And we should all be pretty upset that some companies are making money helping abusers stalk their victims.

It’s time for action. Specifically, the action of clicking here to help me build a movement behind these important reforms:



P.S.: I really need your help on this one -- and if you use a smartphone, there’s a lot at stake for you. So click here to sign on:


Consumer privacy protection from GPS Smartphone tracking systems has long been a major concern for Senator Franken:


Senator Al Franken (D-MN), chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology, and the Law, plans to debate legislation that would require companies to obtain express consent from users before collecting, obtaining, or sharing the location data from mobile phones. The Location Privacy Protection Act of 2012 would require location data handlers to disclose what information is collected and inform users about how to "revoke consent" for data collection and sharing. In a statement provided by his office, Senator Franken warned of ubiquitous "personal tracking devices" and said that "the law allows companies to collect and disclose our location information without our knowledge and consent." In the senator's fact sheet about the bill, privacy issues with the iPhone, Android, and Windows Phone 7 are all specifically named. - The Verge, 12/5/12
Franken has been able to use the subcommittee to investigate privacy issues in the technology world.  The main focus has been on location tracking like the Carrier IQ phone tracking case and use of facial recognition technology.  You can read about these issues here:

Carrier IQ phone tracking:

Location tracking:

Facial recognition technology:

Here's the link to Franken's petition again:


And show Al some gratitude for looking out for consumers' privacy by donating to his re-election campaign:


Originally posted to pdc on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 08:56 PM PST.

Also republished by The Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party.

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