Tag: geolocation privacy

Geolocation data tracking limited by privacy watchdog in France

Retailers now have new regulations to which they must adhere with location based marketing.

When it comes to mobile marketing, geolocation has provided advertisers with an unparalleled opportunity to understand their customers and communicate with them at the perfect moment in the shopping experience.

Location based marketing does involve the collection of a customer’s position, of which a privacy watchdog is highly aware.

In France, a privacy watchdog has looked into the use of geolocation technology as a marketing method and has now implemented limitations for retailers and tracking companies with regards to what they are permitted to do. The goal of these restrictions is to help to protect the privacy of smartphone carrying customers. While the Commission National de l’Informatique et des Libertés (CNIL) says that it is trying to keep private data safe, at the same time, many French retailers now feel as though they have had all of their opportunity for this technology cut off.

The geolocation rules that have been drafted by the CNIL provide strict guidelines regarding what can be tracked.

geolocation targeting - mobile shoppingSome retailers feel that their ability to use location based marketing through geolocation has been nullified by the CNIL rules. The idea behind this type of mobile marketing is to track the movement of consumers throughout a brick and mortar location, or to know when a customer has approached a store so that advertising and promotions can be sent to them at the moment that they are most receptive to information about deals, opportunities, products, or brands.

This type of tracking can also provide a mobile advertising firm or a retailer with the route that customers take while they are within a store as well as the length of time that they spend viewing a specific ad. With this information, advertisers can change their strategies to better appeal to consumers because the information and offers that they provide will be more interesting and relevant to the people who are actually shopping.

However, the privacy watchdog feels that the type of data collection through geolocation places the customer’s privacy and mobile security at risk. It has demanded that if these techniques are used by a retailer, that company must first report this to a special committee and also inform their customers of the techniques being used and the purposes for which the data is being collected. Moreover, as soon as the customer has left the store, any individual data must be deleted. No camera images can be collected and stored and none can be passed to a third party.

Geolocation privacy bill condemned by Information Technology and Innovation Foundation

Geolocation security privacy billThe think tank has raised considerable concerns regarding consumer safety and security.

In 2012, a geolocation privacy bill by Senator Al Franken (D-Minnesota) was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee, in order to provide the users of smartphones with a greater degree of control over the way that their data is controlled.

However, the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation feels this legislation is problematic.

The law that was proposed would make it necessary for app developers to require users to specifically opt in to programs that would allow for the collection or disclosure of geolocation data. It would no longer be permitted for apps to automatically select that option, so that users would need to actively opt out if they did not wish to share their information in that way.

The geolocation data was not being protected by the companies that collected it, said Franken.

According to the senator, the “Companies that collect our location information are not protecting it the way they should.” At that time, he made reference to a number of errors and blunders regarding privacy, which had drawn considerable media attention. This included reports that Android and iPhone devices were sending the geolocation data of their users to Google and Apple.

Not to mention the CarrierIQ fiasco. That company was a part of a high profile discovery in 2011, when the researcher demonstrated that its software was capable of logging the keystrokes that were made on smartphones.

While it is Franken’s intention to reintroduce the geolocation privacy bill in 2013, Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), a think tank, is openly arguing that this proposed law may not encourage positive changes. In fact, it called the legislation “particularly problematic for apps that are supported by location-based advertising.”

It explained that the bill, which was designed to protect a user’s privacy in the face of geolocation technology and use, would require a user to have to give consent every time the app intends to work with a new ad network. This, they say, would generate awkward consumer notices. The think tank’s behaviors in the past have not indicated that they are adverse to advertising techniques such as pop-ups, which they recently used to state that they were rejecting do-not-track requests.