Tag Archive | consumer

New GAO Report on Mobile Device Location Data

Mobile Device Location Data: Additional Federal Actions Could Help Protect Consumer Privacy

GAO-12-93, September 11, 2012

What GAO Found

Using several methods of varying precision, mobile industry companies collect location data and use or share that data to provide users with location-based services, offer improved services, and increase revenue through targeted advertising. Location-based services provide consumers access to applications such as real-time navigation aids, access to free or reduced-cost mobile applications, and faster response from emergency services, among other potential benefits. However, the collection and sharing of location data also pose privacy risks. Specifically, privacy advocates said that consumers: (1) are generally unaware of how their location data are shared with and used by third parties; (2) could be subject to increased surveillance when location data are shared with law enforcement; and (3) could be at higher risk of identity theft or threats to personal safety when companies retain location data for long periods or share data with third parties that do not adequately protect them.

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A code of conduct for apps

by Tony Romm, Politico.com, May 20, 2012

As smartphone-crazed consumers fiddle with Angry Birds and challenge each other on Words With Friends, policymakers are playing a different game: bringing order to mobile apps. To Washington, the daily deals tools, social networks and other programs that consumers download onto their smartphones present new challenges to consumer privacy and security. Lawmakers are keenly aware of the horror stories of apps surreptitiously accessing user address books or broadcasting location data sans permission. …

For full text of the article, visit A code of conduct for apps – Tony Romm – POLITICO.com.

Is Your iPhone or iPad Taking a Bite Out of Your Privacy?

World Privacy Forum, posted April 22, 2011

Some of Apple’s products, including iOS 4 iPhones and iPads, have been collecting consumers’ detailed location information and storing the data directly on the devices and on devices they have synced with. The data stored on the iPhones and iPads is unencrypted and includes latitude, longitude, when the location was visited, for how long, and could have been collected for as long as a year. This raises privacy concerns, as the unencrypted data may be accessed directly, with little effort. … How do I know if I have an iPhone or iPad that is collecting and storing my location details? …

For full text of the article, visit: World Privacy Forum | Is Your iPhone or iPad Taking a Bite Out of Your Privacy?.

Consumer Privacy, Energy Use Data, and Trust | The Energy Collective

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Consumer Privacy, Energy Use Data, and Trust

Posted January 31, 2011 by Christine Hertzog

Consumer privacy concerns are an important focus of many Smart Grid conversations.  Everyone agrees that consumers need to be educated about the entirely new types of energy use data that can be created with Smart Grid technologies.  While we must ensure that consumers are aware of their rights and responsibilities regarding energy use data, there is less conversation ongoing about educating utilities and vendors to deploy programs to ensure data privacy, and there are no conversations ongoing about who owns the value of that energy use data. …

For full text of the article via Consumer Privacy, Energy Use Data, and Trust | The Energy Collective.

Joint Comments on Proposed Smart Grid Privacy Policies and Procedures

Source: Center for Democracy and Technology, October 15, 2010

The Smart Grid promises great benefits to consumers and the environment, including lowered energy costs, increased usage of environmentally friendly power sources, and enhanced security against attack and outage.  At the same time, however, the Smart Grid presents new privacy threats through its enhanced collection and transmission of detailed consumption data – data that can reveal intimate details about activities within the home and that can easily be transmitted from one party to another.

Both the Commission and parties to this proceeding have agreed that a full set of “Fair Information Practice” principles, as previously outlined by CDT and EFF, is the best framework to adopt in order to protect consumers. Adopting rules based on the full set of FIPs is particularly important now, in light of a growing national consensus that consumer privacy is not adequately protected by mere “notice and choice.”

In these comments, we articulate a clear, concise set of policies and procedures that implement or “operationalize” the full set of FIPs for the Smart Grid. We respectfully encourage the Commission to require these policies and procedures of all regulable Smart Grid entities. CDT and EFF are interested in working with all parties on these proposed rules, and we invite other parties to offer suggestions for improvement or to express support for our framework.

See also CDT webpage that links to multiple articles on this topic.

See also related blog postings:

Related Articles

Data Access and Privacy Issues Related to Smart Grid Technologies

 

DATA ACCESS AND PRIVACY ISSUES RELATED TO SMART GRID TECHNOLOGIES

Department of Energy, October 5, 2010

This section summarizes and records DOE‘s impressions of the results of its efforts to collect and analyze diverse perspectives on the current state of data security and consumer access and privacy issues associated with the ongoing development and deployment of ―Smart Grid technologies. In so doing, it provides federal, state and local policymakers, as well as utilities and third-party providers of energy management services, with a concise, broad overview of the current state of ongoing efforts to assess the legal and regulatory implications of the data-security and data-privacy issues that were identified during a public information-gathering process conducted by DOE in the spring and summer of 2010. In this document, DOE attempts to provide a measure of certainty for all Smart Grid participants on issues where there is consensus, as well as highlight the pros and cons of various approaches where debate still exists.
 
DOE stresses the intended audience and the legal and regulatory focus of this report because efforts to encourage the deployment of Smart Grid technologies will depend significantly upon two factors.  First, the success of such efforts depends upon the development of legal and regulatory regimes that respect consumer privacy, promote consumer access to and choice regarding third-party use of their energy data, and secure potentially sensitive data to increase consumer acceptance of Smart Grid.  Second, the success of such efforts also depends upon the development of appropriate technical standards and protocols for promoting privacy, choice, and the secure, interoperable transfer and maintenance of sensitive data. 
 
 This report focuses on the first of these challenges. Federal efforts to investigate the second set of technical issues and promote the development of standards for addressing them are also underway. Those seeking analyses of the technical issues should consult publications like the  Guidelines for Smart Grid Cyber Security: Vol. 2, Privacy and the Smart Grid, released by the National Institute of Standards and Technology in August 2010.
For full text of the report, click here.
 
For a related posting on the  Geodata Policy blog, click here.
 
 

 

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