End the Lie
Some time ago I covered the atrocious software covertly loaded onto most major smartphones by the largest carriers in the United States which is known as Carrier IQ.
This software, which is a massive breach of privacy, records and transmits disturbing amounts of information back to the carrier without the user being aware of what it is doing or being able to stop the process.
Thankfully, one individual amongst the gaggle of useless so-called representatives, Representative Edward Markey, a Democrat from Massachusetts, has stepped up to the plate to fight back.
On Jan. 30, Markey unveiled a draft of legislation which would require cellphone carriers to reveal to their customers if they are using Big Brother monitoring software like Carrier IQ on their devices.
Markey released the draft on his official house website, calling it the Mobile Device Privacy Act. On top of requiring that companies disclose the usage of tracking software, it would also require these companies to say exactly what information was being collected by the software.
Customers would then have to actually consent to having their data collected or transmitted by such software, and in addition third parties would be required to secure the collected data.
The bill would also force companies that seek to transfer their collected data to third parties to file applications with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) along with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
Currently, under many privacy policies, companies actually own the data they collect from users, allowing them to do just about anything they want with it, which is how Google monetizes all of their services and pulls in astounding profits while providing a plethora of free services.
“Consumers have the right to know and to say ‘no’ to the presence of software on their mobile devices that can collect and transmit their personal and sensitive information,” Markey said, according to The Hill.
As the co-chairman of the Congressional Privacy Caucus, I think that Markey might actually be able to get a significant number of supporters behind this legislation, which would be an absolute necessity given the strong opposition it is sure to attract from telecommunications corporations.
Of course Carrier IQ takes the position that their software, which is stealthily embedded into millions of smartphones without user consent, only collects information to help carriers evaluate the performance of the phone, most of which supposedly remains on the phone itself.
“As we have previously indicated, opt-in / opt-out is a capability that we are able to provide and have been doing so in a number of markets,” Andrew Coward, vice president of marketing for Carrier IQ, said in an email, according to The Hill.
“Utilizing this option is a decision for each network operator balancing a number of factors including the critical need to ensure optimal network and device performance and consumer concerns about privacy,” Coward added.
This makes it clear that without something to force carriers to address this issue, many of them will continue to force the tracking software upon us by claiming it is needed “to ensure optimal network and device performance” which they would likely claim trumps “consumer concerns about privacy.”
However, due to the serious public backlash that ensued after it was revealed that around 150 million phones had been loaded with Carrier IQ, some carriers and manufacturers have already started backing away from it, or at least claiming to.
One such carrier is Sprint, and Apple has also claimed that they will be dropping Carrier IQ while T-Mobile and AT&T still use the tracking software.
Hopefully Markey will be able to get a coalition together in Congress to help push this legislation, despite the considerable pressure that will almost certainly come from various corporations, especially within the telecommunications industry.
This is where the lie ends. The American people are waking up to the fact that the mainstream media is controlled by a very small group of elite billionaires who decide exactly what stories to cover. We at End the Lie force politicians to address the real issues, force government to be accountable and transparent, and force real change to occur in our country. Every American needs to get informed and stand up for the principles upon which our wonderful country was founded. Do it now with End the Lie.