The tentative subject of user location privacy has been looked in detail by companies involved and yet no clear solution has been detailed on how they should proceed. A growing number of companies are producing location aware applications that can collect information on the whereabouts of the user’s location alongside other related material. This information is particularly valuable to third parties looking to target products or services at a specific geographic location.
To keep the LBS application market advancing smoothly, the market is currently evolving towards four main gate keepers for location privacy.
1. The opt-in. Many of these applications have to be downloaded onto the device before they can be used. Google stresses that the software is strictly opt-in – you must download the software then allow the software to use your location. This removes the ability for laptop and handsets to share their position out of the box. Users should have a right to their own privacy and should have ability to choose what should be shared and what should not, which is what this option provides.
3. Out of Reach Control. If the phone is stolen or lost, friend and contact location can be put at risk. Barriers are required so that this can be controlled when the handset is beyond the reach of the original user. Very few applications have this “kill switch” but as this type of service grows it will become a requirement for social applications.
4. Security of information. This point ties the previous three together. The underlying fear for consumers is how secure their information is from unknown parties. Users need and require security and protection from other users and other parties, which increases as more users adopt to use the service. Having the security offers additionally protects against bad press relating to the application and the market, which could damage uptake.