Location Based Services to Increase . . .

. . . by 12% in 2011 according to a white paper by TNS Mobile Life.

A 2010 survey conducted for Microsoft of the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, the United States, and Canada found that 94 percent of consumers who had used location-based services considered them valuable, but the same survey found that 52 percent were concerned about potential loss of privacy.

The iPhone collection and storage of user location data “scandal” is in full swing resulting in web postings repeating, without citation, that the data is being used for nefarious purposes. Apple is being sued of course (check out the complaint here). And, of course, shortly after Steve Jobs responded to the “scandal” by stating Apple doesn’t collect location data, someone found a patent filing suggesting otherwise.

My points?

(1) Privacy must be built into the development process, starting from the very beginning. Your company’s patent filings should be reviewed and privacy issues flagged. Then, when the technology is under consideration for use, the flag pops up and your privacy team is engaged at a very early stage in the development process.

(2) Keep your CEO from making broad brush statements about privacy. Here is a question in an email interview with Steve by MacRumors:

Q: Steve,

Could you please explain the necessity of the passive location-tracking tool embedded in my iPhone? It’s kind of unnerving knowing that my exact location is being recorded at all times. Maybe you could shed some light on this for me before I switch to a Droid. They don’t track me.

A: Oh yes they do. We don’t track anyone. The info circulating around is false.

Do you think the Apple Legal department or PR team reviewed that statement? Legal and PR are your best friends and can keep you from causing yourself more headaches when there is a crisis.

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