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‘LBS providers should educate their consumers’

US: There’s a responsibility incumbent upon all providers of location-based services (LBS) to educate consumers as to how their location information is collected, stored and used, said David Diggs, Vice-President, Wireless Internet Development for CTIA-The Wireless Association, an international non-profit membership organisation.

Diggs along with Jay Malin, Managing Director, CTIA, were speaking with TheWhereBusiness, an online news portal. Further, he added that at the same time, consumers must take the time to understand the information that’s available about LBS applications.  It’s important for consumers to read those licence agreements, because that’s where the specifics about the app can be found.

Telecom carriers have long protected the privacy of their user’s location data, as a matter of law under the Communications Act of 1934. But the current environment involves other services – including location based service providers – that handle private consumer information, but which may not be subject to the same laws.

CTIA’s “Best Practices and Guidelines for Location Based Services” rely on two fundamental principles: user notice and consent. First, LBS providers must ensure that users receive meaningful notice about how location information will be used, disclosed and protected so that users can make informed decisions whether or not to use the LBS. Second, LBS providers must ensure that users consent to the use or disclosure of location information and LBS providers bear the burden of demonstrating such consent, continued Diggs.

Jay Malin said, “The most visible issue currently is with whom the data is shared. Location – just beyond where one is now – includes where one is at night (residence), where one is during the day (work), where one shops/eats/visits the gym (gender, age, income), all of which enables the application provider to build a profile of the one. For the most part, this is already being done today by existing data vendors who acquire transaction data.”

Both Diggs and Malin are scheduled to speak at the forthcoming, People Tracking and Location USA to be held in Chicago during June 22−23, 2010.

Soure: TheWhereBusiness