The location function on smartphones is surprisingly strong. Having the ability to track an individual's location via a pocket-sized is a tempting tool for police and other agencies, but a new bill from Congress could change that.
Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oreg.) recently introduced a piece of legislation that will prevent the government from tracking Americans via their smartphones. It's uncertain at the moment what the bill will specifically contain. However, in a press release, Wyden stated that the bill builds off previous bipartisan bills that were designed to "prohibit electronic vulnerability mandates."
Wyden then went on to express how the bill "sends a message to leaders of those agencies to stop recklessly pushing for new ways to vacuum up Americans' private information, and instead put that effort into rebuilding public trust."
The Daily Dot believes the bill was inspired by recent NSA experiments with surveillance. According to the site, the Electronic Frontier Foundation discovered, through a recent experiment, that the NSA tracked locations of Americans in bulk via their phone signals and GPS indicators thanks to a Freedom of Information Act.
However, the program is just that-- an experiment. NSA spokesman Vanee Nines told the Daily Dot that "the only domestic intelligence program that involves bulk collection falls under [Section 215 of the Patriot Act]-and it does not include geolocation data."
Wyden's bill also comes a week after both President Obama and UK Prime Minister David Cameron both commented on their dislike for Apple's encryption policy. While phone location and encrypted apps aren't the exact same thing, the security behind the two device functions is very similar.