New, stricter EU regulations relating to “personal data” could soon force Apple and Google to overhaul the way their iOS and Android devices respectively use location data.
The updated Data Protection Directive, due later on in 2011, would tighten the belt around the way smartphones log a user’s movements and track location data in apps, which under new EU regulations would become a breach of a user’s privacy laws.
“Since smartphones and tablet computers are inextricably linked to their owner, the movement patterns of the devices provide a very intimate insight into the private life of the owners. One of the great risks is that the owners are unaware they transmit their location, and to whom,” according to the Article 29 Working Party.
Though both Apple and Google claim the location data collected is kept anonymously, the EU advisory panel is still calling that location services on tablets and smartphones are turned off by default, and can only be turned back on after a deep description of how they are used and of the information they are collecting is given to the user.