Location-based mobile apps create privacy concerns

Without a clear rules or authority, the wireless industry self-regulates.

Your cell phone knows where you are.

Armed with a smartphone full of location-based applications, you can cue up Yelp reviews and Groupon offers for the nearest restaurants, get turn-by-turn directions there from Google Maps, and then use Foursquare to share your location with followers on Facebook or Twitter. Whether through GPS capability or cell-tower triangulation, today’s mobile devices gather and put geolocational information to use in a multitude of ways.

The debate rages as to whether the industry can be trusted to self-regulate, whether regulatory agencies need to regulate carriers and app developers, or whether there needs to be a combination of both—for instance, agency enforcers stepping in where self-regulation fails.

“We believe that self-regulation is going to be superior to legislation just because the technologies are evolving so quickly that any one-size-fits-all approaches are not likely to be very successful to the different use cases here,” says Michael Altschul, general counsel of CTIA. “But recognizing that, there are certainly some approaches we do think would be more successful than others, primarily those approaches that do rely on industry regulation but perhaps with some government oversight.”

Associate Editor

Melissa Maleske

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