Last updated: May 21, 2012 - 8:27am
As smartphone-crazed consumers fiddle with Angry Birds and challenge each other on Words With Friends, policymakers are playing a different game: bringing order to mobile apps.
To Washington, the daily deals tools, social networks and other programs that consumers download onto their smartphones present new challenges to consumer privacy and security. Lawmakers are keenly aware of the horror stories of apps surreptitiously accessing user address books or broadcasting location data sans permission. “There is an expectation of privacy when you use a mobile device, particularly when using an application that can collect and transmit personal information such as geolocation,” said Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee. There’s a “lot of work to do to make sure that consumers have control over what personal information is being collected about them and that companies respect consumer privacy.” The result has been a classic Beltway power struggle: A cutting-edge-yet-still-neophyte industry boasting millions of dollars in revenue is looking to stave off regulation from the wary sheriffs on Capitol Hill and at regulatory agencies.
Here are the three key areas Washington is watching: 1) Protecting privacy, 2) Location tracking, and 3) Mobile wallet safety.
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