Recovering Locational Privacy

August 6, 2009 at 11:38 am Leave a comment

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) just published an interesting piece on a trend toward losing our locational privacy. With the ubiquity of cell phones, transit passes, electronic tolling passes, Wi-Fi, swipe cards, and more, it becomes easier and easier for companies and government agencies to track your movements and exact location. In essence, your location at any given time was once private and hard to obtain information, and it is now fairly easy to determine through the right technology.

Although much of this technology is extremely helpful and useful, EFF offers some suggestions for once again creating locational privacy without giving up the technology that has come to benefit us. They suggest implementing systematic log erasure at companies to ensure that if your location is recorded, that it is erased on a regular basis. Other suggestions include creating non-specific identification aliases for individuals. In others words, an identification alias would be an electronic marker (for your cell phone, toll pass, etc.) that would indicate your location, but would not be linked to your identity in any way.

As our lives become increasingly linked in, through social networking, cell phones, and other location-based technology, concerns about locational privacy will become more important. And it becomes more important for citizens to know about the issues and the solutions.


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