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Franken Explains Bill to Curb Smartphone App 'Stalking'

Posted at: 12/12/2012 6:01 PM
Updated at: 12/12/2012 11:15 PM
By: Alan Hoglund
ahoglund@wdio.com

nullA Federal Trade Commission report reveals that some of the most popular children's applications on smart phones are taking the users location information and sharing it with third parties without parents' knowledge or consent.

Sen. Al Franken, D-Minnesota, tells Eyewitness News he aims to criminalize that behavior with what has been dubbed the "Stalking Apps Bill."

The bill, according to Franken's staff, would also close a loophole that allows stalking apps to run in secret on women's and girl's smartphones, before sending location information to a third party.

According to Franken's staff, the Location Protection Privacy act will prevent companies that make the software on your smartphone-including apps and GPS devices-from collecting and sharing your location information with third parties without your explicit consent.

Franken said a St. Louis County woman became a victim of that stalking behavior after being abused. He said she was at a domestic abuse meeting and "while she was there she got a message from her abuser saying 'why are you at the county building? Are you going to the domestic violence program?' That scared her. So they took her to the courthouse to get a restraining order against the guy, and then she got a message saying 'why are you at the courthouse? Are you getting a restraining order against me?' This is terrifying."

The bill will be taken up in a committee on Thursday.