Congressman Proposes Legislation to Outlaw Mobile Device Snooping

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Yuri Gripas / Reuters

If your immediate reaction to the secret monitoring of mobile devices is something along the lines of, “Shouldn’t that be against the law?” then you might be interested in a new proposal from Rep. Edward Markey, co-chairman of the Bi-Partisan Congressional Privacy Caucus.

Markey, the U.S. Representative for Massachusetts’ 7th congressional district and former chairman of the Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet, has released draft legislation for a bill seeking “disclosures to consumers regarding the capability of software to monitor mobile telephone usage to require the express consent of the consumer prior to monitoring, and for other purposes.”

(MORE: Lawmakers Call for Official Hearing over Carrier IQ, Cellphone Security)

In a statement accompanying the draft legislation, Markey said, “Consumers have the right to know and to say no to the presence of software on their mobile devices that can collect and transmit their personal and sensitive information.”

He went on to say that he is “concerned about the threat to consumers’ privacy posed by electronic monitoring software on mobile phones, such as the software developed by Carrier IQ,” adding that the right to decline monitoring or collection of personal information is “especially important for parents of children and teens.”

In addition to requiring the disclosure of and consumer consent to the monitoring of mobile devices, the bill also calls for the securing of collected information by third parties, as well as all transmission of collected information to be recorded at both the Federal Trade Commission and Federal Communications Commission. The legislation is currently still at the “discussion draft” stage, awaiting input from other lawmakers before being formally introduced.

MORE: Is Your Cell Phone Listening in on You?

Graeme McMillan is a reporter at TIME. Find him on Twitter at @Graemem or on Facebook at Facebook/Graeme.McMillan. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.

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