Time to Look Beyond the iPhone Location File
Photo by Yutaka Tsutano
I appeared on KQED's Forum program yesterday to discuss the Apple iPhone, and I tried to shift the discussion away from the important but relatively narrow concerns posed by the iPhone location file. Instead, I said, we need to focus on the broader privacy implications of mobility and the location enabled web. The audio of the KQED program is here.
As my colleague Justin Brookman explains over at CNN.com, your location data is going not only to Apple (and to Google for Android users) but also to your cell phone service provider, to applications loaded on your phone, to websites you browse, and to others. And we simply do not have a comprehensive legal framework in place to address either commercial re-use and redistribution or governmental access to this data.
Bottom line, as Justin says:
The best way to address these cross-platform, cross-industry questions is through public policy. We need legislation that establishes fair information practices for commercial collection, disclosure and use of all consumer data but especially for sensitive data, like geolocation information and we need the courts and Congress to update the rules for governmental access, to require a judicial warrant for tracking the location of cell phones and other mobile communications devices.
Justin will be expanding on these points when he testifies about location privacy before the Senate Judiciary Committee on May 10.