Location Privacy

Image

This topic page provides news, resources, guidance and tools to get up-to-speed on location privacy and the issues surrounding it.

Location data consists of data indicating the geographical position of a device, including data relating to the latitude, longitude, or altitude of the device, the direction of travel of the user, or the time the location information was recorded.

Featured Resources

A new geolocation privacy paradigm

Geolocation data is a growing topic among privacy professionals due to the lack of regulatory safeguards around such data.This article provides a rundown of what geolocation data is all about and pointers for U.S. legislators at the federal and state level as they move toward proper regulation of collection, use and other practices.
Read More

The limits of privacy
in location data

This article looks at the challenge of anonymizing location data and whether individual records in large datasets effectively become anonymous by virtue of being “lost in the crowd.”
Read More

Geolocation used in the fight against COVID-19

As COVID-19 continues to spread throughout the country, the Peruvian government has implemented stronger policies and strategies that are aligned with measures that have proven to be effective around the world. Catherine Escobedo looks at the three most recent measures the Peruvian government has implemented.
Read More


Latest News and Resources

Here are the contact tracing apps being deployed around the world

As countries begin to lift lockdowns from COVID-19, they are relying on contact tracing apps to identify and break the transmission chain of the disease. While some Asian countries have implemented their contact tracing apps with strict surveillance measures, Europe and the U.S. are scrambling to build apps with privacy in mind. Countries are working with app developers and technology companies to develop contact tracing in hopes they can contain the transmission of COVID-19. While more privacy... Read More

Senate holds 'paper hearing' on tracking consumers to fight pandemic

In a sign of the dangerous time we're living in and as most of the U.S. self-quarantines to protect health during the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Senate Committee on Science, Commerce and Transportation held an unusual "paper hearing" on how to responsibly employ big data to combat spread of the virus. Witnesses submitted testimony to the committee, and now will have a "96-business-hour turnaround time to answer member questions," which will be made public via the Senate committee's website.  "... Read More

COVID-19 and Location Privacy

Geolocation and other personal data used in the fight against COVID-19

As COVID-19 continues to spread throughout the country, the Peruvian government has implemented stronger policies and strategies that are aligned with measures that have proven to be effective around the world. These strategies now include the temporary collection and treatment of the population’s personal data, specifically, the geolocation data of those infected with COVID-19 as a way to track their movements and identify possible contagion hot spots. This article takes a look at the three mos... Read More

Here are the contact tracing apps being deployed around the world

As countries begin to lift lockdowns from COVID-19, they are relying on contact tracing apps to identify and break the transmission chain of the disease. While some Asian countries have implemented their contact tracing apps with strict surveillance measures, Europe and the U.S. are scrambling to build apps with privacy in mind. Countries are working with app developers and technology companies to develop contact tracing in hopes they can contain the transmission of COVID-19. While more privacy... Read More

Senate holds 'paper hearing' on tracking consumers to fight pandemic

In a sign of the dangerous time we're living in and as most of the U.S. self-quarantines to protect health during the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Senate Committee on Science, Commerce and Transportation held an unusual "paper hearing" on how to responsibly employ big data to combat spread of the virus. Witnesses submitted testimony to the committee, and now will have a "96-business-hour turnaround time to answer member questions," which will be made public via the Senate committee's website.  "... Read More

Apple, Google debut COVID-19 contact tracing technology

Apple and Google debuted tools that could track if someone comes into contact with a person infected with COVID-19, The Washington Post reports. The companies say their smartphones could communicate through Bluetooth technology and a contact tracing app that senses nearby devices. When an app user indicates they’ve been infected, it would notify those with smartphones in the vicinity. Apps could be developed as soon as mid-May.Full Story... Read More

Privacy advocates emphasize safeguards in potential COVID-19 tracking

The Washington Post reports some privacy advocates are in favor of the U.S. using cellphone or location data to track the COVID-19 pandemic so long as it is done appropriately. Advocates are seeking assurance on basic safeguards and the potential for user opt-ins to allow government access. "There’s no reason to have to throw out our principles like privacy and consent to do this," Electronic Frontier Foundation Distinguished Technology Fellow Peter Eckersley said. Meanwhile, the U.K. is develop... Read More

Enforcement

Treasury department IG finds law enforcement may be using mobile GPS data illegally

U.S. Department of the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration J. Russell George said in a report law enforcement agencies may be using cellphone GPS data from mobile applications illegally, The Wall Street Journal reports. George found the results of the Carpenter v. United States case could prohibit the use of using such data without a warrant and called for stricter controls around the information. The review was conducted following an audit request from Sens. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and... Read More

Lawsuit against weather app sign of things to come?

Recently, the office of the Los Angeles City Attorney, Mike Feuer, filed a complaint against The Weather Channel Product and Technology, LLC (TWC)—the company owned by IBM and behind the popular Weather Channel mobile application. Feuer stated: “[W]e allege TWC elevates corporate profits over users’ privacy, misleading them into allowing their movements to be tracked, 24/7. We’re acting to stop this alleged deceit.” This action may encourage state attorneys general across the country to conside... Read More

CNIL tells Singlespot to obtain consent for geolocation data collection

France’s data protection authority, the CNIL, has warned Singlespot to properly gather consent for the collection of geolocation data or else it could face potential regulatory actions. The CNIL found Singlespot obtained users’ geolocation data from their smartphones in order to send targeted ads. An investigation determined the company never asked for consent when it collected the geolocation data, nor did it have a defined data-retention period. The president of the CNIL has given Singlespot t... Read More

CNIL tells Singlespot to obtain consent for geolocation data collection

France’s data protection authority, the CNIL, has warned Singlespot to properly gather consent for the collection of geolocation data or else it could face potential regulatory actions. The CNIL found Singlespot obtained users’ geolocation data from their smartphones in order to send targeted ads. An investigation determined the company never asked for consent when it collected the geolocation data, nor did it have a defined data-retention period. The president of the CNIL has given Singlespot t... Read More

Definitions

Geofencing

Geofencing is the creation of virtual perimeters linked to the geographic position of a mobile device. In the BYOD context, geofencing may be used to restrict access to applications or sensitive information inside of or outside of specific locations. For example, a company may be able to restrict access to potentially risky applications on a personal device when the device is connected to the company’s network or, conversely, restrict access to company resources when the device is outside of the... Read More

Internet Protocol Address

A unique string of numbers that identifies a computer on the Internet or other TCP/IP network. The IP address is expressed in four groups of up to three numbers, separated by periods. For example: 123.123.23.2. An address may be "dynamic," meaning that it is assigned temporarily whenever a device logs on to a network or an Internet service provider and consequently may be different each time a device connects. Alternatively, an address may be "static," meaning that it is assigned to a particular... Read More

Location-Based Service

Services that utilize information about location to deliver, in various contexts, a wide array of applications and services, including social networking, gaming and entertainment. Such services typically rely upon GPS, RFID, Wi-Fi, or similar technologies in which geolocation is used to identify the real-world geographic location of an object, such as a mobile device or an internet-connected computer terminal.- Acronym(s): LBS Associated term(s): Geolocation; GPS; Global Positioning System; RF... Read More

Metadata

Data that describes other data. “Meta” is a prefix meaning “an underlying description” in information technology usage.... Read More