In a May 17, 2011 Press Release, the FCC announced plans to hold a June 28, 2011 public education forum on consumer and privacy issues implicated by mobile Location Based Services (LBS) tracking. The FCC seeks input from consumers, industry, and academia on a variety of related topics, including industry best practices and the use of mobile devices by children.
The forum comes amid growing concerns over consumer mobile privacy, including recent disclosures that Apple and Google mobile devices collected geolocation information without consumer consent. Recent media coverage has drawn attention to the collection, use and disclosure of geolocation information and there is mounting Congressional interest in protecting consumer online and mobile privacy (see Kelley Drye Advisory and chart summarizing federal consumer privacy legislation).
The forum is being conducted in consultation with the FTC. The FCC’s March 2010 National Broadband Plan called for the two agencies to work together on privacy issues and in July 2010, a Joint FTC/FCC Privacy Task Force was formed. The forum will inform a forthcoming FCC staff report that may help shape the ongoing privacy debate and may clarify the role the FCC intends to play in this area. Comments on the LBS forum and the topics raised for inclusion in the proposed FCC staff report are due July 8, 2011.
For more information about this uncharted legal territory and emerging "rules for the road" for developing and marketing mobile apps, click here to view and listen to a recording of the Kelley Drye webinar, Mobile Applications: Privacy and Data Security Considerations.