Geo-Location Privacy Concerns Reach Capitol Hill
Now more than ever, cell phones and other mobile devices work as a portable data center, constantly tracking who you are and where you go. In 2011, Apple caught flack for consistently documenting the location of iPhones through WiFi and cell-tower triangulation, and without the express knowledge of iPhone users.Many mobile users unknowingly opt in to device tracking and data collection, often in the name of analytics and diagnostics.
Congressional Privacy Technology subcommittee leader Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) has set out to make it harder for developers and companies to collect location-based data from mobile devices. Franken's Location Privacy Protection Act of 2012 would require companies to disclose not only that they collect location-based data, but also disclose what information is collected and how a user can opt out of data collection.
While the legislation aims to criminalize applications that 'stalk' users via GPS, the bill could have particular repercussions on data collection for legitimate and benign purposes, i.e., marketing and advertising. Time will tell whether or not Franken's Privacy Protection Act will do more to impede on tech advancements than safeguard consumers.
Read more at The Verge.