Re: EFF story on court ruling on GPS tracking

Thanks for the pointer, David. There's also a good NYTimes article on the
topic which underlines the same point. [1]

Also, the FTC Privacy Roundtable in January [2] included a good discussion
of location privacy where participants (from both industry and advocacy
groups) agreed that there's a qualitative difference between location
histories and one-off location points.

We should perhaps be considering this distinction more seriously in the
Geolocation WG; currently the Geolocation API makes no permissions
distinctions when a site requests the current location or real-time updates
of location. The aggregation issue is also a concern here: if a Firefox user
gives her location to several different sites over the course of the day,
does she realize that Google obtains the whole set of locations associated
with a single unique identifier?


On Fri, Aug 6, 2010 at 2:44 PM, David Singer <> wrote:

> There is an interesting phrase in here which echoes the workshop discussion
> of 'degree':
> The court noted: "When it comes to privacy...the whole may be more
> revealing than its parts."
> The court continued: "It is one thing for a passerby to observe or even to
> follow someone during a single journey as he goes to the market or returns
> home from work. It is another thing entirely for that stranger to pick up
> the scent again the next day and the day after that, week in and week out,
> dogging his prey until he has identified all the places, people, amusements,
> and chores that make up that person's hitherto private routine."
> David Singer
> Multimedia and Software Standards, Apple Inc.

Received on Thursday, 19 August 2010 02:34:47 UTC