EU to get tough on geolocation data privacy
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The hopes of companies planning to use geo-location data to push products and services to mobile device users have taken a beating in the European Union, following a pronouncement from the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) Peter Hustinx.
Published on Saturday, 10 September 2011 15:56 Written by Roger Longhorn
June 8, 2011 The Article 29 Working Party has published an Opinion on Geolocation services on smart mobile devices and taken a strong position on consent, stating that consent cannot be considered to be freely given through the mandatory acceptance of general terms and conditions or through opt-out possibilities. The Article 29 Working Party considers that due to the level of detailed personal data collected through geolocation services and the importance of obtaining informed consent, the default position should be that location services are ‘OFF’ and users “may granularly consent to the switching ‘ON’ of specific applications”.
Techblogger article in Computing magazine on DP and geolocation services
The EU Data Protection Commissioners’ grouping called the Article 29 Working Party (the “Working Party”) has given an opinion on geolocation services on smart mobiles indicating that prior consent from users is likely to be required.
The Article 29 Working Party has concluded an opinion on geo-location services on smart mobile devices (such as smart phones and tablet computers) by saying that they are linked to natural persons and therefore any geo-location data involving the devices are deemed personal data. As such, under the Data Protection Directive, the most applicable legitimate ground for processing that data is by giving the users of those devices sufficient information and obtaining their prior, informed consent.
Geolocation services can pinpoint where you are, and share that information with friends, applications, and companies. With the introduction of smart phones, we've seen a rise in the number of applications and websites that offer 'location-based services'.
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Consent requirements for geolocation services on smart mobile devices are set to become more stringent following publication of an Opinion by EU body, the " Article 29 Data Protection Working Party ", in May 2011 (the Opinion). The Opinion sets out extensive requirements for "opt-in" customer consent to be obtained by providers of geolocation services.
Data Protection in the Telecommunications Sector A Guide to the European Communities (Electronic Communications Networks and Services)/(Data Protection and Privacy) Regulations, 2003, as amended by SI 526 of 2008. In 1997, the EU introduced Directive 97/66/EC in order to strengthen and clarify data protection and privacy rules in the telecommunications sector.
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The data should be classified as personal data because it can be used to identify people, the Article 29 Working Party said. The Working Party is a committee made of up national data protection regulators from the 27 EU member states. The group has said in a published opinion that the EU Data Protection Directive's wording already qualified geolocation data for protection under the law.
Geolocation services - where does the Article 29 Working Party stand? - MHC Publications | Legal Advice Ireland | Irish Law Firm | Dublin Lawyers | Corporate Lawyers IrelandOver the last few years, privacy lawyers have faced the daily challenge of applying the European Data Protection Directive 95/46/EC (‘the Data Protection Directive’) to situations that fall far outside the intent or conception of the original drafters. The development and increasing popularity of location based services, resulting from the proliferation of smart phones, brings still further challenges. Geolocation technology has immense commercial potential for organisations.
On May 16, 2011, the Article 29 Working Party (the “Working Party”) adopted an Opinion on geolocation services on smart mobile devices (the “Opinion”).
The grouping of representatives from the data protection authorities in each European member state, known as the Article 29 Working Party, recently published an opinion on the use of geolocation services on smart mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. The opinion attempts to clarify how the European Data Protection Directive applies to geolocation data generated by mobile phone mast triangulation and the use of Wi-Fi access points and Global Positioning System (GPS) transponders, which can potentially track the movements of users. This information may be used not just by the operators of mobile phone networks and third-party geolocation infrastructure services that "map" Wi-Fi access points, but also by apps used on mobile devices, so there are clearly control and privacy issues.
geoloc data prersonal data