The city of New York could pass a law that, in fact, would put an end to the business of buying and selling geolocation data by mobile operators. A practice that has become increasingly controversial (and widespread) in recent years. New York would become the first city in the world to adopt such a ban.
The proposal was presented last Tuesday. If approved, phone companies and smartphone app developers could no longer sell their users’ travel data to New Yorkers to third parties.
The initiative is already making a lot of discussions because it is the umpteenth case in which a local administration bypasses the federal legislators, judged too slow and blind before the requests for the privacy of the citizens. We have also seen it with regard to the use of facial recognition, with different cities that have moved to ban it in the absence of any form of federal regulation. The congress and the Senate do not act or do not give the answers hoped for, so it is up to the metropolis to defend the rights of citizens.
” Data collection on the location of users “, explained the President of the Electronic Privacy Information Center Marc Rotenberg, ” has become the main technique for tracing people within physical spaces “.
It is a technique widely used by advertisers to more easily reach their potential customers. Think of a concert organizer who can know who has participated in events similar to the one he wants to promote. But we have recently discovered that user location data is also used a lot by political campaigns. Steve Bannon explained that he had used this technique to reach Catholic voters. During an interview, he said: ” If your phone has ever been in a Catholic church, it’s crazy, they (telephone companies) have that data. They literally know who was in a Catholic church and how often.”