Geothink Student Twitter Chat on Location and Privacy on the Geoweb

Laura Garcia, PhD student at the University of Ottawa under Prof. Elizabeth Judge (University of Ottawa), recently conducted a Spanish language Twitter chat with students at Los Andes University.

Discussion revolved around privacy issues especially in location-based services on the Geoweb 2.0. Using the hashtag #locationmine, participants discussed how location is both ‘mine’ in the sense of being very personal and private information and a mine of data to be exploited. Protecting privacy requires education, laws, regulation, and maybe even changes to technologies (such as the creation of standards). We are in the midst of changes in the technological landscape that are already having an effect on the amount of privacy internet users can realistically have, and this will continue into the future. Not only is technology changing, our habits are also changing as well, resulting in many agreeing to terms of use without a proper examination or thought over the details. Locational privacy must be debated and defined as a response to changes in the ecosystem, to enable proper regulation and protection of rights.

Laura presented the discussants with five conclusions:

  1. One of the most important elements of the right to privacy is for the user to have control over the information shared and who has access this information
  2. It is not easy to find and/or remove the collection of geographic information made automatically by some technologies and companies. Therefore, in these cases the user does not have control over the collection of their locational information
  3. It is important for the users of the Geoweb to take an active role in the protection of their privacy
  4. Better regulations are needed. These need to be mandatory and unambiguous
  5. Civil society needs to advocate for its own rights and demand corporate social responsibility

View the chat transcript below.