2012 was a big year for privacy. From CISPA to ECPA, lawmakers are tackling the ever present issue of how to handle privacy in the digital age. There’s not been a lot of progress on the front, but Sen. Al Franken is trying his hand at passing a privacy law yet again.
The Verge reports that Franken will soon introduce the Location Privacy Protection Act of 2012 in Congress. It’s a retread of the same named bill from 2011 that sought to give mobile device users a choice over whether or not companies could track them when GPS services are turned on.
Aside from companies having to seek permission before being able to use tracking info, the bill would also target those who use GPS and related technologies to stalk others. It’s likely the bill, if passed, would make revenge porn operations, like the ones operated by Hunter Moore, illegal. It would also create an investigative team at the National Institute of Justice that would look into how geolocation is being used in violence against women.
Franken’s bill sounds pretty good, and would go a long way towards protecting people’s privacy when using smartphones. The only problem is that the bill has next to no chance of success. The previous bill from 2011 never got out of committee and the 112th Congress has bigger fish to fry (i.e. fiscal cliff) before it’s convened on January 3.
In all likelihood, Franken will have to try to pass his bill during the next Congress alongside everybody else who had aspirations of passing Internet or privacy bills this year.