Location Privacy


Location Privacy Topic Page

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

Featured Resources


Making the case for a new geolocation data 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.
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Getting lost in the crowd: 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.”
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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. Catherine Escobedo looks at the three most recent measures the Peruvian government has implemented.
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Additional News and Resources

Apple, Google partner to end unwanted Bluetooth location device tracking

Apple and Google entered a partnership to create a "proposed industry specification" to fight unwanted Bluetooth location device tracking, according to a joint press release. The new proposal "will allow Bluetooth location-tracking devices to be compatible with unauthorized tracking detection and alerts across iOS and Android platforms." Device manufacturers, such as Samsung, "have expressed support for the draft specification," which is intended to serve as a standard for companies to build suc... 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

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

US government exploring location data tracking for COVID-19

The Washington Post reports U.S. government officials are consulting with big tech companies and public health professionals on the possibility of using location data from cellphones to track individuals infected by COVID-19. The health professionals have pitched the idea of companies, like Facebook and Google, compiling anonymized data that would be used for a map to track the spread of the disease. However, Google has already stated it has privacy concerns over the use of location data. Senate... Read More

German, Austrian telecoms disclose location data for COVID-19 tracking

Telecommunications companies in Germany and Austria have granted their governments access to customers' cellphone data in an effort to help track the COVID-19 outbreak, Der Tagesspiegel reports. German-based Telekom and Austrian-based A1 each offered the initial government access to the anonymized data within the last few days. "This allows movement flows to be modeled — broken down nationwide, at the state level and down to the district-community level," a Telekom spokeswoman said. (Original ar... Read More

Israel plans COVID-19 tracking through phone data

The New York Times reports the Israeli government has received Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's authorization to use undisclosed cellphone data to track movements of citizens infected by COVID-19. The data was collected under the radar and was meant to be used for counter-terrorism efforts. In addition to tracking infected individuals, Israel's internal security agency aims to also identify people that have been in contact with those being tracked.Full Story... Read More