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Mobile, Location-Aware Boom Forces Privacy Rethink

Smartphones, ubiquitous GPS and a host of new location-aware services have lawmakers, privacy advocates, industry groups and manufacturers rethinking the balance between public safety and consumer privacy.

Location is becoming the latest battleground over privacy. As a new generation of mobile devices broadcast a user's location, there is no agreement among lawmakers, privacy advocates, the communications industry, and other interested parties as to what limits, if any, should be placed on location information.

On Wednesday, two House Subcommittees heard testimony on location-based services as part of a broader set of hearings on cyber security and privacy.

One of those testifying was Michael Altschul, vice president and general counsel for the wireless communications industry's CTIA lobbying group. He said technology and other changes in the mobile industry underscore the need for clearer privacy guidelines.

"Since we developed our best practices guidelines in 2008, the world has changed in unpredictable ways," Altschul told InternetNews.com. "Back then we assumed it would be up to the wireless carrier and application service provider to determine a user's location."

Read "House Hears Testimony on Location vs. Privacy Debate" at eSecurity Planet