Exploiting the Location Goldmine While Respecting Privacy: a Delicate Balance

Since the very start of LBS, more than a decade ago, privacy has been one of users’ major concerns and a major barrier for uptake. While location provides a very powerful instrument to develop compelling mobile applications, it also raises issues about the potential abuse of real-time or historical positioning data of specific users by companies, advertisers, governments, or indeed criminal organizations. The ambivalence between the power and privacy threat of location data can also be observed in the attitude of the end-users. While younger age groups do not seem to have a problem with exposing private information, including location on social networking sites – after all this is the very purpose of social networks – older age groups, that is the parents of the younger users, are much more reluctant, being more apprehensive about the risks involved.

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