Geolocation Privacy Legislation
Updated April 8, 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
GPS ActView FAQ, analysis, and more at wyden.senate.gov
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
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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
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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.
New On March 27, 2014, Senator Al Franken (D-MN) reintroduced this legislation for the 113th Congress. The bill was referred to the Senate judiciary committee.
Sen. Franken originally introduced the legislation during the 112th Congress, and it passed the committee level in December 2012.