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Location Based Services & Privacy

LBS will enable a slew of new applications like buddy/family tracker, 1-click taxi requests, 911 enhancements, mobile advertising, enhanced social networking, and more. But like all new services, there is the potential for abuse and an invasion of privacy. Below is a list of parameters that will allow individuals to balance the features and value of LBS capabilities while ensuring their privacy and security.

Time--Specify day and time when location information can be gathered.

Who--Specify who is allowed to make location requests. "Who" can be defined as a person, group, company, and/or application.

Frequency--Specify how often a request is allowed to be gathered, from once a second to once a day.

Accuracy--Skewing the granularity of the location from within 20 feet to the city or state they are in.

Authentication--Sending an SMS message as information or for approval for an LBS request. This can be used for new requestors, on every request, or to any exception to the aforementioned options.

Logging--A monthly log of all requests detailing who, when, & location given

The rule set can get fairly complex, such as allowing a specific person to track location at specific times within a location of one mile and any requests for location information outside these parameters will require approval via SMS.

But having a generic rule that all friends within a person's favorite social networking site are granted access to a user's location information can be potentially dangerous. A person is most likely to be victimized by someone they know.

On the other hand, LBS can offer another level of security and add more communication service options based on location. Users of LBS should scrutinize who, when, where, and why someone would like to know where they are located.