The impact of the European privacy regime on location technology development

Location technology allows for the tracking and tracing of individuals. Developments in location technology allow for increasing levels of detail to keep an eye on one's private life. There are concerns that the privacy awareness among citizens and privacy legislation hinders the success and further development of these technologies. This article assesses the extent to which European privacy legislation blocks location technology development. This is accomplished through a detailed analysis of the Dutch legal framework and an overall review of the European legal framework for protecting individual's privacy versus private sector use of location information and public sector use in the intelligence services. The analysis shows that privacy legislation puts users of terminal devices in control of the decision if and when his location information may be used by private sector location-based services providers. Users often seem willing to allow this, judging by the increase in available location-based services. Privacy legislation is not as protective regarding the use for law enforcement and secret intelligence purposes: privacy of mobile device users may be intruded for these purposes. Certainly after 9/11, developments in law are directed at increasing the mandates of law enforcement and intelligence services. Therefore, the location technology industry is likely to prosper from the investments of the public intelligence sector. For both privacy law legislating private sector use of location-based services and legislation for (secret) public sector use, this article shows that the European privacy regime does not endanger further location technology development.


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Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01103073
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jun 5 2008 10:20AM