I remember a few months ago that it was headline news when it was revealed that Apple iPhones were retaining geolocation information that could be used to track users location. Last week, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) affiliates filed 379 public records requests in 31 states in the US, requesting information about how local law enforcement agencies are using cell phone location information for law enforcement.
According to the ACLU, cell phone location information has been used for law enforcement purposes.
- In 2010, FBI agents investigating a series of bank robberies demanded the records of every cell phone that was near each bank when it was robbed.
- In the same year, Michigan police officers sought information about every cell phone near the site of a planned labor protest.
This is the information the ACLU is requesting;
- whether law enforcement agents demonstrate probable cause and obtain a warrant to access cell phone location data;
- statistics on how frequently law enforcement agencies obtain cell phone location data;
- how much money law enforcement agencies spend tracking cell phones and
- other policies and procedures used for acquiring location data.
According to the ACLU, Sen. Wyden (D-OR) and Rep. Chaffetz (R-UT) have introduced bills that would create location privacy protections for law enforcement and the commercial sector.
Early in 2009, the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) formed the Spatial Law and Policy Committee (SLPC). chaired by Kevin Pomfret, to create an open forum a wide range of legal issues including intellectual property rights, liability, privacy, and national security. Kevin Pomfret's blog contains a lot of material on the topic of spatial data and privacy.