By Michael Malpass
Sen. Franken’s main concern is the potential for stalkers to use mobile apps to locate their prey. The senator said during the Judiciary Committee meeting: “I believe that Americans have the fundamental right to control who can track their location, and whether or not that information can be given to third parties. But right now, companies – some legitimate, some sleazy – are collecting your or your child’s location and selling it to ad companies or who knows who else.” Rebekah Moses, Program Manager for the Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women, backs the legislation, saying: “This important legislation brings national awareness to perpetrators’ widespread misuse of mobile technology to stalk intimate partners.”
Despite widespread support for the bill from anti-domestic violence and consumer advocacy groups, including the National Center for Victims of Crime and the National Association of Consumer Advocates, those in the technology sector complain that the new legislation would force innovative and responsible mobile apps into impractical legal contortions, ultimately harming the user experience. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee and advocate for businesses, feared that if users were constantly confronted with consent notices, they might stop using the apps. According to AdAge, Sen. Grassley said this could “do serious damage to the tech sector.” Since mobile advertising also relies heavily on locating mobile app users, Sen. Grassley said that app makers might find it difficult to support their businesses through advertising and instead switch to fee-based models.