New federal bill drafted in response to Carrier IQ privacy concerns

A new bill drafted in the House of Representatives would give the Federal Trade Commission power to regulate "monitoring software" that transmits personal information such as location data. This bill seems to have been drafted at least partially in response to Carrier IQ, which sparked privacy debates when it was discovered on multiple carrier's phones last fall.

The drafted bill is called the Mobile Device Privacy Act, or MDPA, and was introduced Monday by Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.). As you might recall, Markey is the same Congressman who expressed interest in investigating Carrier IQ in December 2011. The MDPA bill, which is a discussion draft and has not yet been introduced as a formal bill, can be viewed in PDF format here.

Carrier IQ's software was found on phones from carriers including AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile. While Carrier IQ claims the software is designed to simply assist carriers in troubleshooting network failures and other issues, the Mountain View, California company is currently facing at least four lawsuits, pressure from Senator Al Franken (D-Minn.) and investigations from the Federal Trade Commission and the Federal Communications Commission. In the face of so much legal action already, the necessity of a new federal law regulating monitoring software and the time and money spent to pass it seems a little questionable.

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