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FCC Will Vote on Wireless Privacy Protections Soon

12 Jun, 2013 By: Doug McPherson

WASHINGTON – The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will vote at the end of June on whether to issue new rules that will require wireless carriers to better protect consumers' personal information – including data about who they call, how long they talk and their locations.

The FCC began examining the issue after news of software developed by Carrier IQ – and installed in around 150 million phones – could log users' keystrokes, capturing their SMS messages and other data. The developer has admitted its software sometimes logs the contents of messages, but added that the data is encoded. Carrier IQ also said the logging was the result of a bug.

Lawmakers have been making inquiries recently and a class-action lawsuit is pending.
Mignon Clyburn, the acting chair of the FCC, reportedly said about the upcoming vote, “Millions of wireless consumers must have confidence that personal information about calls will remain secure even if that information is stored on a mobile device.”

News of the FCC's upcoming vote came last week just before British news outlet The Guardian reported that the National Security Agency (NSA) is collecting records of all Verizon customers in the U.S. (The NSA probably collects records from other carriers as well, but full details about the extent of its activities haven't yet emerged.)

No matter how the FCC votes, carriers will continue to turn over customers' information to the NSA as long as judges issue orders to that effect.

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