Skip to Content

Privacy & Data

FTC Roundtable: Technology’s Impact on Privacy

In her opening remarks at the second of the FTC’s roundtables in its Exploring Privacy series, FTC Commissioner Pamela Jones Harbour was characteristically observant in noting that the mobile space is “crying out for greater privacy.” She reminded us of the 100,000 mobile apps that have been developed for just one mobile platform (the iPhone) among many, but aptly noted that “there’s no app” to give users greater control over their mobile data and the ways that data generated by mobile devices can be used for consumer tracking. Across all the most popular mobile applications platforms (including iPhone and Android), there are nearly 3000 location-based applications, and surely only a fraction, if any, are designed to enhance location privacy rather than invade it.

CDT's Alissa Cooper is participating today on a panel at the workshop that will focus on the privacy implications of mobile computing.  In comments submitted to the FTC in advance of today's workshop, a section highlighting the privacy implications of mobile computing, saying:

The ubiquity of increasingly high-powered mobile devices has already spawned the Internetʼs first generation of location-based services and applications. As the accuracy of location data improves and the expense of calculating and obtaining it declines, location may well come to pervade the online experience. While the increasing availability of location information paves the way for exciting new applications and services, the increasingly easy availability of location information raises significant privacy concerns… In general, location information collected for any purpose is sensitive, and we encourage the FTC to work to address the many unanswered questions about how location data is being collected, used, secured, and shared."