The Federal Communications Commission waded into the controversy over cellphone tracking Tuesday, announcing that it will partner with the Federal Trade Commission in reviewing the risks of location-based services.
The agencies stopped short of announcing any formal investigation. Rather they propose to gather information through online comments and a public information forum on June 28.
Congressional leaders and privacy groups attacked companies like Apple and Google after reports that smart phones track and gather information on their users' locations.
"While the use of location data has spurred innovation, the FCC's National Broadband Plan recognizes that consumer apprehension about privacy can also act as a barrier to the adoption and utilization of broadband and mobile devices," the FCC said in a statement. "Clear information and public education can help consumers better understand these services."
The hearing will feature representatives of wireless carriers, consumer advocacy groups, and technology companies. The hearing, as well as the public comments, will eventually go into a staff report, laying the groundwork for possible future FCC or FTC action, an FCC official said.