04.27.11

Leahy Urges Google, Apple To Testify At SJC Subcommittee Mobile Privacy Hearing

WASHINGTON (Wednesday, April 27, 2011) – Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) is urging two leading providers of smartphone and tablet technology to accept invitations to testify before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law at a May 10 hearing focused on “Protecting Mobile Privacy: Your Smartphones, Tablets, Cell Phones and Your Privacy.”

In letters to Google CEO Larry Page and Apple CEO Steve Jobs, Leahy urged the companies to testify about how each is addressing privacy concerns raised by the collection and storage of sensitive, personal information by technologies like Google’s Android software and Apple’s iPhone.

“Like many Americans, I read with deep concern recent press reports indicating that [Android Phones and iPhones] collect, store and track user location data without the user’s consent,” wrote Leahy.  “As Congress considers updates to the Electronic Communications Privacy Act and other Federal privacy laws, it is essential that the Senate Judiciary Committee have full and accurate information about the privacy risks posed by this new technology.”

Leahy’s letters continue, “The collection and storage of sensitive location information has serious implications regarding the privacy rights and personal safety of American consumers.  While there are many benefits to innovative technologies like the [Android Phone and iPhone], American consumers deserve to know the potential risks that these new technologies pose to their privacy and security.”

Leahy was a lead author of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), which was signed into law in 1986.  He is leading efforts this Congress to update the law.  Earlier this month, he chaired the Judiciary Committee’s most recent hearing on ECPA reform.

The May 10 hearing will be chaired by Privacy, Technology and the Law Subcommittee Chairman Al Franken (D-Minn.).  Information about the hearing is available on the Judiciary Committee’s website.

A PDF of Leahy’s letters to Google and Apple are available online.

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