House lawmakers preparing key cell-phone location privacy legislation

A few House Democrats are readying a bill this month that would protect consumers from abuses of location-tracking cell phone technology.

Those tools -- which power common services like the iPhone's GPS tracker and Google's new Buzz network, which plots updates on a map -- are becoming more popular among consumers, experts say.


But they also present key privacy challenges, lawmakers acknowledged at a joint hearing Wednesday, prompting the need for legislation.

Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.), chairman of the Energy and Commerce subcommittee on consumer protection, did not specify what that forthcoming bill might contain. But he did say that Wednesday's hearing meant lawmakers were ready "to take the next step" in the process.

"As one of the two co-chairs of our joint undertakings, along with Congressman [Rick] Boucher (D-Va.), on privacy, it is my intent that our next hearing on privacy will be a legislative hearing, where we will discuss the 'devil in the details' by commenting on a discussion draft of a comprehensive privacy bill."

Rush later added he would work on that legislation closely with Boucher; Rep. George Radanovich (R-Calif.), the committee's ranking member; and Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fl.), the ranking member on his House's technology and internet subcommittee.

"I think you can expect to see this measure emerge as part of a larger legislative item," Boucher later predicted.