On June 28, 2011, the FCC's Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, in conjunction with staff from the FTC, will hold a "public education forum" to discuss, among other things, industry best practices and the benefits/risks of "Location Based Services" for smartphones and other mobile devices. The forum is expected to include members from industry and technology companies as well as consumer groups and academia. In connection with the forum, the FCC is accepting comments about LBSs. Together, the forum and comments are expected to help inform a forthcoming FCC staff report on LBS.
The LBS forum is one of the many events in Washington concerning mobile privacy, an issue that has become quite the hot topic in the wake of concerns regarding LBS use by Apple and Google. As we discussed earlier here, the Senate Judiciary Committee's new Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law already held a hearing about Apple and Google's policies on location-based information. These two companies, in addition to Facebook and other organizations, are again expected to appear on the Hill tomorrow to discuss mobile privacy and protections, this time before the Senate's Consumer Protection, Product Safety and Insurance Subcommittee. Indeed, federal legislation has already been introduced that would regulate "geolocation" data of teenagers and children, as well as general commercial practices for the collection, use and sharing of personal information (which we discussed in detail here).