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Arizona Bill Would Force Apps To Disclose When They're Watching You

Arizona lawmakers want smartphones and other electronic devices with access to built-in microphones and cameras to clearly disclose when they're watching you.

Often, with a click to download software, consumers unwittingly give application companies permission to access their cameras and speakers, allowing the app to follow private conversations and movements.

State Rep. Kelly Townsend said she learned about it after two separate conversations with family members kicked off unsolicited ad campaigns.

In one case, she said she was explaining to her son why his uncle uses a CPAP machine.

"The next day, I started getting ads for CPAP machines,'' Townsend said through Facebook.

Then there was a conversation in Spanish about tamales at Christmas.

"For the next week I got all my ads in Spanish,'' Townsend said. "I hadn't Googled it.''

She has written a bill that would force tech companies to disclose monitoring up front.

"If you're going to use a microphone to collect information that you're hearing on somebody's smart phone in the background, or if you're going to use the camera to determine what to market to them, you need to tell them so on the front end," she said.

House Bill 2524, cleared its first hurdle Wednesday as the House Technology Committee voted 5-2.

No one spoke against the bill, but the Arizona Chamber of Commerce has noted concerns that it will impact emerging technologies.

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Holliday Moore is a native Arizonan and veteran journalist who joined KJZZ’s news team in January 2017.Moore graduated from Arizona State University after double majoring in mass communications and marketing/management. She spent her first two decades reporting for television news, beginning in small markets and working up to congressional correspondent in Washington, D.C., for a political news service.Family commitments in Arizona brought her back to the Southwest, where she covered legislative and court beats for Albuquerque’s KRQE-TV and the infamous Four Corner Manhunt as KREZ-TV’s managing editor.Back home in Phoenix, she developed ABC15’s “Democracy Project,” now instituted at all Scripps’ news stations nationwide. Her work garnered “Best Practices” recognition by the Poynter Institute and the prestigious Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Television Political Journalism.Her television reports, from sports to cultural issues, earned her multiple Emmy and Associated Press nominations, including a Rocky Mountain Emmy for her Hopi Partition Land Act coverage.As she started a family, Moore started her own media production agency, producing magazine-style travel stories for the Emmy-winning Arizona Highways Television show while working part time for a Valley radio station. She is convinced radio is where visual, sound, and print are merging through deeper storytelling. In her relatively short time with radio network affiliates, she has won four Edward R. Murrow Awards and multiple nominations from other professional news societies.Moore now teaches advanced broadcast writing to the next generation of reporters at ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, where a high percentage have gone on to receive national awards for their work in her class. She enjoys being back home near childhood friends and sharing the beautiful Arizona desert with her husband and young son.