FTC Settlement Provides Guidance Regarding an App’s Collection of Geolocation Data, When Data Collection and Sharing May Begin, and Privacy Representations in a License Agreement | InfoLawGroupBy
Again, we find location data and privacy considerations coming together, resulting in a significant ruling by the United States’ Federal Trade Commission, which is the primary consumer protection body of the Federal government. Interestingly, they have been extremely careful in requiring that companies give notice of collection and possible recipients of location data BEFORE any collection or sharing. In short, “affirmative express consent” is required before any data is sent to the company, and separately from display of the EULA.
The notice must disclose how the data is used, why the application is accessing the geolocation info, and the identify/categories of third parties receiving geolocation information.
Our own imagination runs wild with reasons for collecting this stuff. For it to be useful, one supposes that the user must be “identified” or at least “classified” in some meaningful way so that some analytic exercise could be meaningfully applied and that class of people studied. Certainly big retail stores would like to know where the various categories of their customers go in the store. Perhaps architects and landscape artists would be interested in how different kinds of people move through buildings or public spaces. We learned from one landscape architect that no one in their right mind should specify sidewalks on a university campus (aside from right in front of buildings), since the students will go where the please regardless, so let them do that for six months and then put the sidewalks where the grass has been worn through! Maybe record where the uniformed street cops patrol and tabulate that against crime occurrences? And use geolocation to keep golfers honest! “But it was three feet in bounds!” “No, Harry. The geolocater clearly shows you were 3 yards out-of-bounds. Take a stroke.”