Sunday, January 6, 2013

Convenience vs. privacy

The New York Times article is entitled, "Legislation Would Regulate Tracking of Cellphone Users". Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) has introduced legislation "that would require entities like app developers to obtain explicit one-time consent from users before recording the locations of their mobile devices" and "would also require mobile services to disclose the names of the advertising networks or other third parties with which they share consumers’ locations."

There has been pushback, of course.

Yet many marketers say they need to know consumers’ precise locations so they can show relevant mobile ads or coupons at the very moment a person is in or near a store. Informing such users about each and every ad network or analytics company that tracks their locations could hinder that hyperlocal marketing, they say, because it could require a new consent notice to appear every time someone opened an app.

“Consumers would revolt if this was the case, and applications could be rendered useless,” said Senator Charles Grassley, the Iowa Republican, who promulgated industry arguments during the committee meeting. “Worse yet, free applications that rely on advertising could be pushed by the consent requirement to become fee-based.”

Sen. Grassley, why are the companies making these apps more important to you than my right to be free of unwanted location tracking?

I'm already pissed that massive marketing databases contain information about my credit card purchases and ATM use. I am not about to roll over and play dead when it comes to my phone.

Either limits are placed on what apps can do without my explicit consent, or I will do without them. Period. How does that work for your business models, apps companies?

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