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Location services work by identifying the physical location of a mobile
phone or other mobile device. This could be your own mobile phone or the
mobile phone of a relative, friend or work colleague.
A wide range of new services are possible using location services including
telling you how to get to the nearest cash machine or chemist; allowing a
parent to identify the location of his or her child; making it easier for
friends to meet up for an evening out; and assisting firms with the security
of lone workers.
All location services are subject to the legal requirements of the Data
Protection Act. For consumers this means that location information can be
used only after consent is provided by the user of the phone being located.
For business users employers must explain to their employees how location
information will be used before it is collected.
The Data Protection Act requires that customers are made aware of:
· who their location service company is;
· the purposes for which personal data - including location
information - will be collected and processed;
· whether data will be sent to a third party for the purpose
of providing the location service and length of time for
processing data, including storage, will be.
In addition to data protection legislation, participants in the UK location
services industry - including both location service providers and mobile
phone operators - have agreed guidelines for the provision of location
services. These guidelines set out additional requirements for different
types of location services. They can be found at: www.mobilebg.co.uk.
These includes requirements relating to:
· registration of individuals and organisations using location information;
· provision of reminders on location services operating on a mobile
· how customers can stop a locating service which is running on their
· responsibilities of a locating business or other organisation.
While details vary, all location services depend on the disclosure of where
you are to companies or to other individuals. This offers you significant
opportunities to use new services. However, these services should be used
with the same care as you would take in telling other people your location
in a phone call or SMS. Further, unlike a phone call or SMS, they can
provide information on your location over a period of time.
Only consent to the use of your location information if you would be willing
to provide the same company or individual with details of where you are in a
phone call or SMS. Be aware that your consent may apply for a period of
time. Don't forget that you can withdraw your consent to being located at
If you have any concerns about your safety, which relate to the operation of
any location service, then you should contact your location service company.
If you have immediate safety concerns then you should, as in other
circumstances, contact the police by dialling 999 or 112.
If a user of a location service believes that the industry guidelines are
being breached by the location service provider, he or she may contact the
Mobile Broadband Group by e-mail at email@example.com
or write to The Secretariat, Mobile Broadband Group, PO Box 34586, London