A municipal bill presented this week wants to prohibit the sale of geolocation data from mobile phones that capture applications and companies to third parties, so the city could become the first in the world to take this decission.

Many companies that develop apps for mobile phones share personal data, as well as geolocation of users, with other firms, usually for advertising purposes, which represents the main income in the case of those programs that are free.

The draft, submitted for consideration to the New York City Council Technology Committee, makes it illegal for a “mobile application developer or telephone company to share the location data of a customer whose information is captured while the device is physically present in the city,” without the user’s express permission. The regulations provide for fines for all companies or individuals who share this data of $1,000 per violation, with a cumulative daily maximum of $10,000 per person whose location has been illegally shared.

The draft also establishes the possibility that users whose data has been shared without their authorized permission may go to court, which could convict offenders with the amounts established. In addition, it assumes that this prerogative is additional “and does not supplant” the rest of laws that deal with the same matter.

“We are seeing how the big telecommunications companies make money out of the private location data of the users. Someone can register with a telephone operator and their data can end up in the hands of five different companies,” explained bill’s promoter, Councilman Justin Brannan, in a statement.


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