Monday, April 9, 2012

Centre for Spatial Law and Policy Comments on Proposed Privacy Codes of Conduct

The Centre for Spatial Law and Policy recently submitted comments on location privacy to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). The comments were submitted in connection with the NTIA's request for comments to the Multistakeholder Process to Develop Consumer Data Privacy Codes of Conduct.
Policymakers and regulators in the U.S. are continuing to explore ways to increase protect consumer privacy in a digital world. For example, in March the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued Protecting Consumer Privacy In An Era of Rapid Change: Recommendations for Businesses and Policymakers.

Regulators and policymakers have expressed strong concerns with consumer privacy issues associated with location information. Many of these concerns are associated with mobile devices and related apps. However, as set forth in the Centre's comments, there are a number of issues that should be considered before location information is regulated. Otherwise, there is a real risk that legislation/regulation will be overly broad and have a number of unintended and negative consequences.

Unfortunately, given the various types of location information, the different methods that location information can be collected and the many ways it can be used, defining the issue and coming up with ways to develop effective laws/policies/regulations will prove to be a real challenge.  As a result, efforts to regulate location privacy is not just an issue for developers of mobile apps or manufacturers of mobile devices; it is an issue the entire geospatial industry should follow.

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