by Carlo Longino

Filed Under:
politicians, privacy

Politicians Jump On Privacy Bandwagon For Purposes Of Publicity

from the different-places,-same-political-games dept

Google's new Latitude service, which lets people share their location via Google Maps, launched to a lot of coverage last month. There have been plenty of similar services around for a long time, but Latitude got the PR boost the Google brand provides, making it a lot more noticeable than earlier efforts, and it hasn't failed to escape the attention of some British politicians. In an Early Day Motion (described as little more than a way to call attention to pet projects), four members of parliament called for the government there to "examine the privacy implications of Google Latitude and to take action to ensure that Latitude does not represent a privacy threat." Keep in mind that Latitude is an opt-in service, one in which users must actively turn on location-sharing; furthermore, as The Register points out, British mobile phone operators track handset locations and retain the information for a year in case police want the info, which seems to be a bigger privacy issue than the opt-in service. As long as Google clearly explains what Latitude does and how it works, and users must opt-in to the service, it's hard to see how there's much of a privacy problem here. But somehow, it seems that it's publicity, not privacy, the politicians are most interested in.

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread

  • identicon
    Dan, 11 Mar 2009 @ 6:28pm


    How ironic that British politicians feign concern for the public's privacy. They have evolved into the most intrusive and repressive "democracy" in the free world, I use the term, free, loosely. This is a classic example of a political whore.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Mar 2009 @ 9:06pm

    Yes, Britain doesn't have the best track record when it comes to privacy, and yes, Latitude is an opt-in service. Still, they didn't say there was anything wrong with it, just that it's something to look into. What's wrong with that?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Show Now: Takedown
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads


Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.