April 23, 2011: Markey: Location Data a Treasure Trove for Troublemakers

Calls for Congressional Investigation
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), co-Chairman of the House Bi-Partisan Privacy Caucus and a senior member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, released the following statement today in response to recent media reports that indicate the Apple iOS 4 operating system and Android phone are collecting customers’ personal location data. In the case of the iPhone and iPad, this information is stored for months on the consumer’s device, backs it up when synched with another device, leaving it unprotected. Rep. Markey wrote to Apple CEO Steve Jobs last Thursday querying him about the company’s data collection, storage and disclosure practices.
“Do you know where your children are? is a question that every parent should know the answer to. But predators shouldn’t be able to hack into an iPhone or Android to find out for themselves, with devastating consequences for families. Unprotected personal location information could be a treasure trove for troublemakers.  Apple needs to ensure that an iPhone doesn’t become an iTrack, and an iTrack doesn’t become an iTragedy, especially for children and their families.
“Congress should immediately commence an investigation into this critical issue to help improve companies’ disclosure policies so consumers and families can understand who is seeing their information. I will continue to monitor this issue closely and I plan to introduce child online privacy protection legislation with a 'Do Not Track' requirement so that children do not have their online behavior tracked or their personal information collected or disclosed.”

Rep. Markey is House author of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act  (COPPA), the comprehensive online child protection law enacted in 1998, and former Chairman of the House Telecommunications and Internet Subcommittee.