Some key tech players have forecasted the next big issue is likely to be locational privacy. Everyone agrees that location based apps are valuable and useful. However, these personalized apps can also lead to potential privacy problems. There are some real risks that have to be addressed when using these types of services. There are two types of risks personal physical risks and electronic privacy. Until the privacy issues concerning locational apps are addressed, it’s important to be very cautious about what you share online through them. There are a few ways that geolocation apps and technologies can affect online privacy.

Geolocation Apps and Stalkers or Burglars

There are some real lurking dangers for the public through geolocation services. For instance, one site collected locational information from social media apps in real time. They then posted this information publically and gave out addressed of users who were not at home. This made it easy for burglars to target their homes. Other similar applications might allow a person to be tracked down by a stalker. Fortunately there are some solutions that are allowing for the use of location based services while protecting user’s privacy. Data is being encrypted in such a way as to transmit it so only those you want to see the information can decode it. However, so far this type of solution has not been developed for location based services. It is in the works, but until then it pays to be cautious.

The Law and Locational Privacy

Before there were electronic tracking devices being so widely used, protecting the privacy of a person’s location was not an issue. This is the primary reason why privacy laws have not yet addressed location privacy. There are still some legal ways to help protect online privacy. For instance, a police cannot take a GPS tracking device out of a vehicle without first obtaining a warrant. For now the law pertaining to obtaining locational data and privacy issues are a little murky but they are starting to emerge as it becomes a more apparent problem. For now, there are some legal guidelines governing law enforcement and an individual’s personal phone which typically contain their locational data as well.