House Committee Questions Google on Precise Location Information Database
House Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), full-Committee Ranking Member Greg Walden (R-OR), Consumer Protection and Commerce Subcommittee Chair Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) and Consumer Protection and Commerce Subcommittee Ranking Member Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) sent a letter to Google CEO Sundar Pichai expressing their concern about reports of a massive database of precise location information on hundreds of millions of consumers, known inside Google as “Sensorvault,” and requesting a briefing and answers on how this information is used both inside and outside the company. “The potential ramifications for consumer privacy are far reaching and concerning when examining the purposes for the Sensorvault database and how precise location information could be shared with third parties,” the Committee leaders wrote. “We would like to know the purposes for which Google maintains the Sensorvault database and the extent to which Google shares precise location information from this database with third parties.”
The Committee leaders requested a briefing from Google by May 10 and answers to a series of questions by May 7, including:
- What information does Google store in the Sensorvault database and for what purposes does Google use this information?
- Does Google maintain other databases of precise location information?
- Who is able to access the information in the Sensorvault database?
- How accurate is the precise location information stored in the Sensorvault database?
- What controls, if any, does Google provide to consumers to limit or revoke Google’s access to the information stored in the Sensorvault database?
- What is Google’s retention policy with respect to precise location information stored in the Sensorvault database? Does Google share, sell, license or otherwise disclose precise location information (including deidentified data) from the Sensorvault database with any third parties other than law enforcement?
- Does Google share, sell, license, or otherwise disclose precise location information (including deidentified data) from the Sensorvault database with any third parties other than law enforcement?
The Regulatory Mix Today: House Committee Questions Google on Precise Location Information Database, US Senate Hearing on Data Privacy, US House Hearings on Robocalls, Canada Penalizes Individual for Allegedly Violating Anti-Spam Legislation
US Senate Hearing on Data Privacy
U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., announced that the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation will convene a hearing titled, “Consumer Perspectives: Policy Principles for a Federal Data Privacy Framework,” at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, May 1, 2019. The hearing will examine consumers’ expectations for data privacy in the Digital Age and how those expectations may vary based on the type of information collected and processed by businesses. In addition, the hearing will examine how to provide consumers with meaningful tools and resources to make more informed privacy decisions about the products and services they use both online and offline. The panel will also discuss data privacy rights, controls, and protections that should be available to consumers and enshrined into law in the United States.
US House Hearings on Robocalls
Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) and Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Mike Doyle (D-PA) announced that the Communications and Technology Subcommittee will hold a legislative hearing on legislation to protect consumers from abusive robocalls on Tuesday, April 30, at 10 am in the John D. Dingell Room, 2123 of the Rayburn House Office Building. The hearing will be entitled, “Legislating to Stop the Onslaught of Annoying Robocalls.” “The robocall epidemic is only getting worse. Americans are understandably demanding action to stop these annoying, and often fraudulent, calls,” Pallone and Doyle said. “It’s time for Congress to act, and next week we will discuss legislation that will protect consumers, stop the abusive practices of robocallers and better restrict unauthorized calls.”
Canada Penalizes Individual for Allegedly Violating Anti-Spam Legislation
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) announced that it imposed a $100,000 penalty on Mr. Brian Conley for violations of Canada’s anti-spam legislation (CASL) committed by nCrowd. This is the first time an individual is held liable under CASL for violations committed by a corporation. Operating under multiple business names (notably nCrowd, Teambuy, DealFind, and Dealathons), nCrowd sent unsolicited commercial emails to Canadians. nCrowd offered promotional vouchers for discounted rates on products, such as electronics, or services, such as beauty treatments, to be redeemed by consumers from third-party suppliers. Those offers were advertised in multiple email campaigns, repeatedly spamming Canadians.
The Regulatory Mix, Inteserra’s blog of telecom related regulatory activities, is a snapshot of PUC, FCC, legislative, and occasionally court issues that our regulatory monitoring team uncovers each day. Depending on their significance, some items may be the subject of an Inteserra Briefing.