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Blackberry Mobility Featured Article

March 09, 2010

Location-Based Mobile Phone Privacy Policy 'Obsolete'

By Erin Harrison, Executive Editor, Strategic Initiatives

When Michael Altschul, senior vice president and general counsel of the CTIA (News - Alert) testified before Congress last month, his message was clear.

Federal mobile phone policy is undefined and the privacy guidelines for location-based services – written only two years ago – are already obsolete, he testified before the Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection and the Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, and the Internet held a joint hearing titled, “The Collection and Use of Location Information for Commercial Purposes,” on Feb. 24.
Altschul explained to Congress why there is a need to revise the 2008 guidelines so soon. “Up until recently, there was a widely held assumption that location-based services would involve a wireless carrier having access to a user’s location information and then using or sharing that information to provide a location-based service.”
Congress contemplated this when it enacted amendments to Section 222 of the Communications Act as part of the Wireless Communications and Public Safety Enhancement Act of 1999, Altschul testified.
He recommended that location-based service providers ensure that potential users are informed about how their location information will be used, disclosed and protected, “so that they can make informed decisions whether or not to use a particular service, giving the user ultimate control over their location information.”

Erin Harrison is a senior editor with TMCnet, primarily covering telecom expense management, politics and technology and Web 2.0. She serves as senior editor for TMC's (News - Alert) print publications, including "Internet Telephony", "Customer Interaction Solutions", "Unified Communications" and "NGN" magazines. Erin also oversees production of TMCnet's weekly iPhone (News - Alert) e-Newsletter. To read more of Erin's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Erin Harrison

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