July 24, 2014

Senate Judiciary Subcommittee To Examine "Stalking Apps"

Today, the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law will hold a hearing on legislation reintroduced in March by Senator Al Franken (D-MN), the Location Privacy Protection Act of 2014.  The bill would regulate the development, operation, and sale of “stalking apps” and also would require companies to get consumer permission before collecting and sharing with third parties consumers’ location data retrieved from smartphones, tablets, or in-car navigation devices.  The following witnesses, which include federal officials, consumer advocates, and industry experts, are scheduled to testify: 

  • Bea Hanson, Principal Deputy Director of the Department of Justice’s Office On Violence Against Women

  • Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection

  • Mark Goldstein, Director of Physical Infrastructure Issues at the U.S. Government Accountability Office

  • Brian Hill, Detective at Anoka County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigation Division

  • Lou Mastria, Executive Director of the Digital Advertising Association

  • Sally Greenberg, Executive Director of the National Consumers League

  • Dr. Robert D. Atkinson, President of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation

  • Cindy Southworth, Vice President of Development And Innovation at the National Network to End Domestic Violence

The bill is co-sponsored by Senators Chris Coons (D-DE) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).  It also has the support of consumer and anti-domestic violence groups, including the National Center for Victims of Crime, the National Network to End Domestic Violence, the National Women’s Law Center, the Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women, Consumer Action, Consumers Union, the National Association of Consumer Advocates, the National Consumers’ League, and the Online Trust Alliance.  The bill does not deal with law enforcement location tracking, which is addressed in other legislation.  You can view a video of Sen. Franken talking about his bill here.

© 2014 Covington & Burling LLP

About the Author

Meena Harris, Privacy, Data Security Attorney, Covington Burling, Law Firm

Meena Harris is an associate in the Washington, DC office, where she practices in the firm’s Privacy & Data Security and Litigation groups. She counsels leading technology and media companies on legal and policy issues pertaining to the collection, use, and disclosure of information online. Her practice also involves representing businesses in government investigations, including by the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice.


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