Mobile Tagging and Privacy Concerns

Holly Richardson
Tuesday, May 17, 2011 at 10:02 AM

Map with magnifying glass


Consumers were spooked in a big way when it was revealed that Apple was tracking where iPhone users went in a non-encrypted file. Recently Sony had privacy troubles of its own when hackers accessed over 12 million credit card numbers. So it's no wonder digital privacy has even caught the attention of the Senate, with mobile privacy becoming the topic of an upcoming hearing of the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee.


As Committee Chair Sen. Rockefeller (who just introduced the Do Not Track Online Act of 2011) told Internet Retailer, "Consumers deserve to know exactly what information is being collected about them, how it is being used, and should be able to say no to undesired collection of information." So what about mobile tagging – specifically, Tag?


First, there's no personally identifiable information (PII) tied to Tag users' accounts – neither Microsoft nor Tag creators are sent user phone numbers, names, or email addresses when someone scans a Tag. Second, Tag users have to opt in to share location data (which allows Tag creators to deliver location-based services like directions to the nearest store location). Tag creators can never see information that identifies users or their phones, and after opting in, users can opt out of sharing location data anytime.


The tricky part is getting the balance right. "[T]he optimal results are measures that foster mobile commerce while enabling consumers to control who knows what about them," says Electronic Privacy Information Center's executive director later in the Internet Retailer piece. As the Senate hearing proceeds, it will be interesting to see how mobile privacy laws shake out. We'll keep you posted.


What do you think of the recent privacy issues? Let us know in the comments below or on Tag’s Facebook or Twitter pages.


Original photo: Wrote via Flickr


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