U.S., EU Regulators Look into Location Data Collection, Sony Data Breach

Lora Bentley
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Check out highlights from Lora's poll of industry experts on the topic of online security.

After a breach of Sony's PlayStation Network put the personal information of 77 million people at risk, privacy regulators in Europe say the company may face "possible action," according to Bloomberg. The Article 29 Working Group, which consists of data protection officials from the European Union's member nations, is "looking at the specifics of what has happened and [is] considering possible actions," Chairman Jacob Kohnstamm said.


Apple may also face regulatory action in Europe, the group said, over its collection of location data from iPhone and iPad users. Regulators in Germany, Italy, Ireland and France specifically are looking into whether the collection violates privacy laws in those countries. Apple maintains that it is not tracking iPhone and iPad user locations, nor does it plan to do so.


The Working Group indicated the Sony and Apple situations are ideal for presenting the kind of united front its members strive for - to the extent national laws allow. Both illustrate "the need for companies to ensure from the outset the personal data of their consumers are well protected," Bloomberg reports.


At the same time, representatives from Apple and Google are preparing to testify before a new U.S. Senate privacy panel chaired by Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.). According to Computerworld,

Franken ... [indicated] the hearing was a "first step" in Congressional inquiries whether federal laws have kept up with the surge in mobile devices, including smartphones and tablets.

In a separate statement, Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Patrick Leahy (D-Mass.) also urged the companies to participate in the hearing. He said:

It is essential that policy makers and the American people have complete and accurate information about the privacy implications of these new technologies.

The hearing is scheduled for May 10 at 10 a.m. ET.

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