Assemblyman Moriarty’s Bill to Stop Companies From Selling Consumer’s Phone Location Clears Assembly Committee

If you have a phone in your pocket, someone is tracking your location. For most of us, this is a helpful feature that allows us to get directions, order a ride, or find nearby restaurants. But according to a January 2019 VICE article, phone companies are selling your location data to unknown third parties. In some cases, live location tracking is ending up in the “hands of bounty hunters.” In other words, someone you don’t know could be tracking your location without your permission.

After he learned of this practice, Assemblyman Paul D. Moriarty introduced legislation to ban phone companies from selling your location data and from disclosing the data to anyone without your consent.

“We trust our phone companies with our location, and it is unacceptable that they would turn around and sell it to the highest bidder,” Assemblyman Moriarty said. “Where you go and what you do is private information, no one should know it if you don’t want them to.”

Last Monday, Assemblyman Moriarty amended the bill (A-5259) to also prevent apps and websites from selling or disclosing your phone location without your permission. Now the bill must be considered for a vote by the General Assembly. Assemblyman Moriarty believes that this legislation should gain the full Legislature’s approval: “Tech companies continue to tell us that they will take better care of our data, but until now they haven’t – it’s time for legislation to make sure they do.”