Tag Archive | "location data"

Privacy Protections Increase in Cloud Data

Senator Patrick Leahy authored an amendment to the 1986 law that will require our law enforcement officials to secure search warrants to gain access to cloud data and use the information in investigations. This is to address the growing concern in the lack of or limited cloud data privacy.

Cloud data is a growing trend in data storage that has started a few years back. It is basically an alternative to storing hard copies of your personal or office files. The data are sent to the “clouds” or a server that stores everything and it can be accessed anywhere with internet connection.

Those who want to retrieve all data stored in the cloud will need a unique password. However, there is still a looming concern on whether or not privacy is maintained especially when law enforcement is concerned.

Leahy’s amendment also wants to protect the geolocation data of the users that is usually saved in our mobile phones. Should it be approved, a warrant will be required to access data in electronic devices that track the location of the user.

The amendment follows Senate hearings with the makers of smarthphone operating system, specifically GOOG for Google, AAPL for Apple, and RIMM for Research in Motion. The hearings were conducted due to a recent discovery that Apple iPhones can store location data. These data are stored in a folder with minimal protection. In fact, law enforcers are already accessing these data during their investigations without any warrant.

The amendment will also cover email searches by police officers. Our current laws give law enforcement officials full access to emails that have been stored longer than 180 days in a remote server.

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Google and Apple to Face Lawmakers

Huge mobile companies such as Google and Apple are hoping that the tracks they set-up in millions of mobile device users will generate billions of dollars for them. However, lawmakers think they have crossed the line.

Last month’s revelation that Apple iPhones collect location data and store it for as long as 12 months has encouraged renewed interest and scrutiny over privacy and location. On Tuesday, Apple and Google senior executives are scheduled to face the congressional panel and be questioned on the possible violation of users’ rights because of their location-tracking software.

Advertising and smart phone companies say that they only use the data on what their users like (based on the frequently visited pages using their phone), where users are (based on their contact with cell phone towers), and who their friend and contacts are (based on the social media linked in their smart phones) so that these companies know which ads they should deliver to their individual customers.

Joseph Turrow, a marketing expert, said that this feature is one of the most terrific things about mobility. Companies that are capable of delivering only the right ad to individual consumers to a mobile format will allow them to generate millions if not billions of revenue.

Based on Mobile Marketer, a trade publication, 82 percent of smart phone users notice mobile ads; 74 percent of which make a purchase with the use of their smart phones.

Head of the Electronic Privacy Information Center Marc Rotenberg, however, said that the Congress needs to update privacy laws and they need to start in grass-roots level in order to ensure privacy of consumers.

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