Friday, April 2, 2010

Spatial Law and Policy Update (April 2, 2010)

Law Enforcement

A couple of interesting news items regarding the role of spatial technology in law enforcement. First, a deputy in Florida used Google Earth to help track down someone who had violated dumping laws. In another case, an Ohio man reportedly is trying to use information from his GPS-enabled mobile phone to show that he had not been speeding.


Another effort to conform federal privacy laws with today's technology - this time it is the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). COPPA requires Web site operators or online service providers aimed at children under 13 years of age to get parental permission before collecting or using personal information from children. Note the reference to "mobile geo-location data" in the article. Such efforts will undoubtedly continue as social network sites continue to integrate location into their applications.

This article, which references an article in Science magazine, is helpful in explaining location data is so valuable.

Apparently, Finland is the latest country to express concerns about Google Street View. I thought about this article when I read this post that references Michael Jones' remarks about the 500 billion images on-line that are not blurred!

Data Quality

This story is an excellent example of what can happen when people try to use geospatial data when they don't fully understand geospatial technology or its limitations.

Public sector information (PSI)/Licensing

Yesterday the Ordnance Survey began making many of its spatial data assets available for free and with limited re-use restrictions. The assets were released under this license, which is very similar to a Creative Commons Attribution License. I have some thoughts about the use of Creative Commons licenses for spatial data sets, which I will share at some other time. However, I would be interested in your thoughts on this particular license as it relates to OS - or spatially enabled PSI data in general. When you comment, please let me know what country you are from, and whether you see yourself more as a data provider or a data user.

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