NJ lawmaker: Stop phone companies from selling private info
They're keeping tabs on you, tracking your every move and then turning around and selling the information.
It's not Big Brother but it is your mobile phone service provider.
A New Jersey lawmaker wants to make sure this doesn’t happen to Garden State residents with cell phones, laptops and tablets.
Legislation sponsored by Assemblyman Paul Moriarty, D-Gloucester, would prohibit commercial mobile service providers from disclosing customer’s GPS data to third parties.
“There is no reason whatsoever that your mobile phone company should be selling your location data to anyone. That is extremely private information," Moriarty said.
He explained GPS data can be used to figure out “when you’re home, when you’re away, where you go every day. It’s very scary to think that a phone company would be taking your location data and selling it to someone else for a profit.”
Moriarty said your information is being sold to all sorts of people.
“Bounty hunters are buying it, thieves may be buying it, who knows who may be buying it from your phone company. The fact is they shouldn’t be selling it. It’s your information, it’s your privacy and I don’t think you gave that up.”
He said who ends up with what information is anybody’s guess.
“The information could fall into the wrong hands: people who want to track you, find out what you are doing, when you’re home, when you’re not home. This is a serious matter and we need to deal with it.”
Moriarty noted the provisions of the bill would not apply to a commercial mobile service provider required to disclose a customer’s GPS data in order to comply with applicable federal or state laws, regulation, law enforcement investigations, legal processes or a court order.
“The more people know about what’s going on the more they’re being troubled by the data that’s being sold, and monetized and distributed to people they don’t even know," he said.
The legislation has been passed by the Assembly and could be approved by the state Senate in the next few weeks.
Violators would be fined $10,000 for the first offense and $20,000 for each subsequent offense. The fines would apply for each individual consumer whose data was improperly sold.
You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com