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GAO says FTC should develop guidelines for mobile location data handling

The Government Accountability Office, in a recent report, recommended that the Federal Trade Commission develop comprehensive guidelines for how companies handle mobile location data.

The GAO report also recommended that the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration work with stakeholders to outline specific goals, milestones and performance measures for its process in developing industry codes of conduct for handling mobile location data.

In response to feedback from the agencies, the GAO backed off from a recommendation that the FTC include–in its mobile location data guidance–steps it would take to enforce a prohibition of unfair practices.

The government watchdog warned that the collection and sharing of location data by mobile companies poses privacy risks to mobile phone users.

Mobile phone users are generally unaware of how their location data is shared with and used by third parties, the GAO warned.

Companies in the mobile industry are ignoring best practices for location data collection developed by industry associations and privacy advocates, the government watchdog noted. These best practices include clearly disclosing to consumers that a company is collecting location data, as well as identifying third parties that companies share location data with.

Read more: GAO says FTC should develop guidelines for mobile location data handling – FierceMobileIT

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