The 2012 State of the Mobile Net Conference

Congressional Internet Caucus Advisory Committee
Thursday, May 3, 2012

9:00 to 9:05 am Welcome & Introductions

9:05 to 10:15 am Complex Devices / Complex Privacy Questions: Grappling With Privacy In the Mobile Space

"Privacy" is a difficult notion to grapple with on a good day. But triangulating what privacy means in the mobile space is particularly challenging -- a space that is evolving rapidly. Traditional privacy practices are finding their way to the mobile space. Recently the White House, the Federal Trade Commission and California attorney general have initiated processes to ensure more privacy transparency and accountability by platform providers. Yet, other developments -- like Carrier IQ to Path to apps like Girls Around Me -- are more challenging. Policymakers and users are grappling with fundamental questions about what privacy means in the mobile space. Should mobile devices and services be treated differently than other platforms like computers and landline phones? Do the awe-inspiring benefits of personal-data-enhanced mobile services -- from location-based services to social networking apps -- simply outweigh any of our reservations about privacy? What are the rules for app developers and platform providers when making context-relative data decisions? And, what do we do with that intangible sense that an app or service is just plain "creepy" or "freaky." Our panel is up to the task of debating those questions.

10:15 to 10:45 am Location Tracking by the Government After Jones: What Jones Tells Us About Mobile Phone and App Tracking

Featuring Jason Weinstein, Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Criminal Division, U.S. Department of Justice
Many legal scholars were stunned when over a month ago the Supreme Court decided in U.S. v. Jones that the Department of Justice had improperly placed a GPS tracking devices on a drug suspect's car without first obtaining a warrant. It was a monumental ruling about the bounds of our constitutional privacy. Yet, the fascinating ruling left many questions unanswered. The next and perhaps most important question is whether the government needs a warrant to obtain our location from cell phone records and other location devices that we already have in our pockets and in our cars. The federal circuit courts are starting to hear cases on that very subject -- which may end up before the Supreme Court. In the meantime, Congress is considering several bills that would more clearly define when and under what circumstances the government could get access to our digital location. We will discuss the implications of the Jones case with the Deputy Assistant Attorney General and where we go from here.

10:45 to 12:00 pm Megabytes by the Morsel and Data by the Dollop: How Will New Mobile Data Plans Affect Consumers, Innovation and the Mobile Marketplace?

Recent reports that the new 4G-LTE enabled iPad could theoretically burn through a user's monthly data allotment in a matter of hours have focused everyone's attention on the issues of mobile data usage, caps, and tiering. Wireless carriers are moving to more dynamic monthly data pricing models as minutes of voice and SMS usage plummet. As they hold in their hands incredibly powerful and data hungry devices like tablets with HD resolution, domestic consumers may find it increasingly difficult to find truly all-you-can-eat unlimited data plans. Carriers overseas are starting to offer hyper-tailored data plans where users' cellphones only have data access to specific sites and services (e.g. Twitter, Facebook). Domestic carriers are exploring data plans that allow app developers to pre-pay the data payload for consumers who use their apps. According to Cisco, mobile data downloads are expected to increase 18-fold by 2016, reaching an astonishing 10.8 exabytes per month from tablets and smartphones. We're not sure how much that is, but it's certainly a lot.

Mobile usage caps have arrived and everyone is wondering what they will mean for how they use their devices to watch movies, stream music, upload photos of their kids, research homework assignments, fill out job applications and file taxes. Our panel of experts will look at the following questions:

- How are mobile data plans evolving?
- Why they are being deployed by the nation's carriers?
- Will there be an impact on mobile social media and entertainment services?
- What's the impact on innovation?
- What will data metering look like in two or four years here and abroad?
- What assurance do consumers have of accurate usage metering?
- What is the impact on social policy?

More details about the event will be posted shortly. For information about the 2012 State of the Mobile Net Conference and sponsorship opportunities, please contact Cat Matsuda at 202-407-8829.