Today, the Federal Communications Commission voted to approve a Fourth Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that seeks to adopt a vertical, or “Z-axis,” metric to enhance location accuracy for wireless E911 calls. The vote follows a recent Motherboard investigation into carriers selling or giving away this information to third parties. Public Knowledge recently filed an ex parte arguing for amending the FNPRM to address this oversight and applauds Commissioner Geoffrey Starks for taking consumer privacy concerns seriously.
Over the last three months, Motherboard’s Joseph Cox has produced an excellent series of articles on how the major mobile carriers have sold sensitive geolocation data to bounty hunters and others, including highly precise information designed for use with “Enhance 911” (E911). As we pointed out last month when this news came to light, turning over this E911 data (called assisted GPS or A-GPS), exposing E911 data to third parties -- whether by accident or intentionally, or using it in any way except for 911 or other purposes required by law violates the rules the Federal Communications Commission adopted in 2015 to protect E911 data.
Yesterday, Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) introduced the “Digital Accountability and Transparency to Advance Privacy Act” (DATA Privacy) to encourage businesses like Facebook and Amazon to explain privacy policies in clear language while meeting requirements for data collection, processing, and storage.
This week featured back-to-back privacy hearings on Capitol Hill to discuss principles for federal privacy legislation. With the one-year anniversary of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation implementation coming in May and the California Consumer Privacy Act taking effect in 2020, industry players that have fiercely lobbied against federal privacy legislation in years past are now suddenly calling on Congress to pass a comprehensive privacy bill this year. Here’s a quick look at what happened in each hearing and a few key takeaways.
Today, Public Knowledge joined 43 other public interest, civil rights, racial justice, and consumer groups in a letter urging Congress to prioritize civil rights concerns when developing consumer privacy legislation. In the letter, Public Knowledge and other organizations argue that anti-discrimination principles need to be extended to the online economy in order to protect marginalized communities, especially communities of color.