The Carrier IQ software might have not been as dangerous as initially thought, but its presence on millions of phones worldwide sure brought up some privacy concerns. And even though carriers are already addressing the issue by removing the controversial software from their devices, the U.S. government wants to make sure that such scandals won't arise in the future.
Introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives was a bill titled the Mobile Device Privacy Act. If it passes, the law will require carriers and phone manufacturers to inform customers about any tracking software that may be installed on a device that they offer. Disclosing the specific types of information that it collects would be mandatory as well. Collecting and transmitting data would require the user's consent, and should the companies want to provide that information to third parties, they will first need to gain approval from both the FTC and the FCC. Additionally, those third parties will be required to take measures towards securing that information from ending up in the wrong hands.
“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,” said Rep. Edward Markey, who is a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and former chairman of the Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet.
Of course, the Mobile Device Privacy Act still has a long way to go before it becomes a law. It might even require some changes to its wording because in its current form, only “mobile telephones” are being affected by it while tablets are not even mentioned. And if such loopholes do not get patched, it would not be surprising to see a Carrier IQ-like scandal escalating once again in the future.
Draft of Mobile Device Privacy Act can be found here [PDF]