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FCC turns down CTIA’s location privacy request

WASHINGTON-The Federal Communications Commission has declined to propose rules requiring wireless carriers to receive a customer’s consent before divulging the customer’s location to marketers.

“Because the statute imposes clear legal obligations and protections for consumers and because we do not wish to artificially constrain the still-developing market for location-based services, we determine that the better course is to vigorously enforce the law as written,” said the Republican majority.

FCC Commissioner Michael Copps dissented. “It is clear that Congress insisted on an opt-in requirement. I disagree, however, that this clarity of purpose renders commission rules unnecessary. This is because serious definitional questions and disagreement between commenters about how this protection will function remain unaddressed. Given this confusion, our failure to act will result in American’s privacy being threatened and adoption of location-enabled devices and [enhanced] 911 phones being slowed,” said Copps.

The Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association asked the FCC in 2000 to commence a rule making with a goal toward requiring carriers to get customer approval.

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