Think Tank Applauds Location Privacy Legislation

Today U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) introduced the Geolocation Privacy and Surveillance (GPS) Act to better protect Americans’ locational information from warrantless government access.

The Competitive Enterprise Institute, a free market think tank, praised the GPS Act and urged members of Congress to support this important legislation as a bipartisan approach to mobile privacy issues.

“Obsolete statutes and conflicting court decisions have rendered Americans’ private geolocation information vulnerable to warrantless search and seizure,” said CEI Associate Director of Technology Studies Ryan Radia. “The Fourth Amendment demands reasonableness in law enforcement investigations, yet today, government authorities frequently access and compel the disclosure of locational data in a completely unreasonable manner.”

“The GPS Act would substantially improve and clarify the protections governing geolocation data by requiring that law enforcement obtain a judicial warrant based upon probable cause prior to accessing locational information under most circumstances. At the same time, the bill would preserve the building blocks of law enforcement investigations, and it would leave intact existing exceptions for data disclosure in legitimate emergencies.”

“The reforms proposed by Sen. Wyden and Rep. Chaffetz would benefit not only law enforcement but also firms that offer innovative mobile services. If burgeoning mobile ecosystems are to realize their full potential, companies must have the freedom to offer robust privacy assurances to their users.”