Privacy concerns arise over Google Latitude

Google has recently been pointed out for some privacy concerns with its Latitude service, according to the BBC. Named Google Latitude, the service allows mobile and Smartphone users to share their location with friends (although there is also a version for PC). The location of a user is determined by the distance to the nearest phone mast, GPS, or the Wi-Fi location, depending on whether the service is being used on a mobile, Smartphone or PC.

The concern lies in how Google Latitude notifies the user of the device that it is sharing the location of the device. The service allows the user to decide how much information to submit, who to, and also allows the user not to share any information at all.

All this sounds fine, but, although it allows the user to control their privacy settings when they are running Google Latitude, what if the user doesn't know they are running it? One example of this would be a company providing its employees with phones, which come with Google Latitude pre-installed, and all setup to share user information with the employer. This is the concern that Privacy International has been raising. As the program doesn't notify the user that it is running (apart from on Blackberry phones), depending on the situation, the user could be completely oblivious to the fact that their location was being broadcasted to whoever the employer set it up to broadcast to.

Currently, notification is a feature only available on the Blackberry version of Google Latitude, so until Google add notifications to the other platforms; it looks like Google will, once again, be in the centre of another privacy concern.

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