Bill addresses phone monitoring software

Jan. 31, 2012 at 6:59 PM
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WASHINGTON, Jan. 31 (UPI) -- A U.S. congressman says he will introduce a bill requiring carriers and phone makers to inform consumers there is monitoring software on their phones.

Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., said companies would also have to receive customers "express consent" before collecting and transmitting information from phones.

His proposal follows the recent revelations of widespread use of a software program called Carrier IQ, installed on millions of cellphones that monitors their operation, ArsTechnia reported Tuesday.

While both manufacturers and carriers all said the software is used only as a diagnostics tool to improve performance, it met with congressional denunciations and class-action lawsuits were filed.

Such software should only be used on a consumer's phone with the phone user's explicit consent, Markey said as he announced a bill that would require disclosure of the presence of monitoring software when a consumer buys a mobile phone.

"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," Markey said in a statement. "While consumers rely on their phones, their phones relay all sorts of information about them, often without their knowledge or consent."

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