Tag Archives | Mobile Phones

Mobile Location Privacy a Hot Topic on Capitol Hill

An effort to ensure consumers know how their mobile location data is being used and shared is underway on Capitol Hill, with a bipartisan bill now making its way through Congress. Called the Geolocation Privacy and Surveillance (GPS) Act, the bill was written by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah).

The bill was simultaneously introduced in both the House and Senate today.

It aims to codify how companies may use and share data, as well as giving consumers more power in consenting to such tracking. In addition, the legislation provides guidelines on how government and law enforcement may use the location data on wireless phones.

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The Brave New World of Mobile Phone Privacy

When Apple sneezes, the world takes interest in ear-nose-throat medicine. So upon learning that their iPhones have been building a bloated file of location data, consumers started wondering if mobile service also means mobile surveillance.

Add the unrelated but scary hacking of Sony’s PlayStation and Online Entertainment networks, and suddenly people are thinking about the data they are shedding and who’s picking it up.

Location is the bonanza of 2011. Companies are chasing hundreds of billions of dollars in potential revenue by trying to learn where consumers are, where they’ve been and even where they may be going.

“Through mobile we are getting data which as marketers we haven’t had access to before,” said Michael Collins, CEO of mobile marketing firm Joule at a recent conference. “We’re beginning to see the full life patterns of the consumer.”

Is this creepy (they know all about you), or great (marketers offer you stuff you actually want, rather than things you couldn’t care less about)? It depends on what you value, what you understand, and how much control you end up having.

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