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Tuesday
May102011

Senate Subcommittee Investigates Mobile Safety, Data Collection

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The growing use of mobile technology to communicate is making it easier to stay in touch -- maybe even more than you desire. A Senate subcommittee is looking at ways to give consumers control of the data generated by their smart phones and other devices.

“Consumers have a fundamental right to know what data is being collected about them,” said Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn, chairman of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law. “I also believe they have a right to decide whether they want to share that information and with whom they want to share it and when.”

Franken says that data collected by the mobile device in your pocket can tell an awful lot about you, and that the scope of the problem is staggering.

“Each year over 26,000 adults are stalked through the use of GPS devices, including GPS devices on mobile phones,” Franken said. “That’s from 2006, when there were a third as many smart phones as there are today.”

Testifying on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, Jessica Rich of the Federal Trade Commission said there's a lot to be worried about.

“These concerns stem from the always-on, always-with you personal nature of mobile devices,” Rich said, noting the potential hazards of “invisible collection and sharing of data with multiple parties, the ability to track consumers -- including children and teens -- to their precise location.”

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