Geolocation Privacy Legislation
Updated October 10, 2014
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This page provides information on congressional bills that seek to clarify how personal location information may be used by law enforcement, companies, employers, and others. It is not intended to influence or express opinions on any ongoing legal deliberations.
Several U.S. states and non-U.S. jurisdictions have enacted laws establishing personal location privacy rights. However, current U.S. statute at the federal level does not provide clear protection of geolocation information.Learn more about GPS and privacy
Transportation, HUD, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2015
Section 432 of the House version of the FY 2015 transportation spending bill prohibits the use of funds to mandate GPS tracking or event data recorders in personal motor vehicles. View text
The bill passed the House on June 10, 2014. Section 432 originated as a House floor amendment introduced by Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL). The Senate version of the bill does not mention GPS tracking.
A similar provision appeared in the House version of the FY 2013 transportation funding act. View PDF (300 KB) It passed the House but was not included in the final continuing resolution for FY 2013.
The Geolocation Privacy and Surveillance Act seeks to establish a legal framework that gives government agencies, commercial entities, and private citizens clear guidelines for when and how geolocation information can be accessed and used.
The bill would create a process whereby government agencies can get a probable cause warrant to obtain geolocation information in the same way that they currently get warrants for wiretaps or other types of electronic surveillance.
In addition, the GPS Act would prohibit businesses from disclosing geographical tracking data about its customers to others without the customers' permission.
On March 21, 2013, Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR), Mark Kirk (R-IL), and Congressman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) reintroduced the legislation for the 113th Congress. The bills were referred to each chamber's judiciary committee and the House intelligence committee.
Sen. Wyden and Rep. Chaffetz originally introduced the legislation during the 112th Congress, and the House judiciary committee held one hearing on it. View hearing at house.gov
Online Communications and Geolocation Protection Act
The Online Communications and Geolocation Protection Act contains many of the same provisions as the GPS Act, but also includes safeguards for online communications.
On March 6, 2013, Representatives Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Ted Poe (R-TX), and Suzan DelBene (D-WA) reintroduced the legislation for the 113th Congress. The bill was referred to the House judiciary and intelligence committees.
Rep. Lofgren originally introduced the legislation as the ECPA 2.0 Act of 2012 during the 112th Congress, but it was not considered.
Location Privacy Protection Act
The Location Privacy Protection Act of 2014 would prohibit companies from collecting or disclosing geolocation information from an electronic communications device without the user's consent. It provides exceptions for parents tracking their children, emergency services, law enforcement, and other cases.
The bill would also prohibit development and distribution of "stalking apps," establish an Anti-Stalking Fund at the Department of Justice, and take other steps to prevent geolocation-enabled violence against women.
On March 27, 2014, Senator Al Franken (D-MN) reintroduced this legislation for the 113th Congress. The bill was referred to the judiciary committee, which held a hearing about it on June 4, 2014. View hearing at senate.gov
Sen. Franken originally introduced the legislation during the 112th Congress, and it passed the committee in December 2012.