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Privacy in a Location-Based World

Location is enormously important to the future of mobile; it creates a new layer of relevance for social, giving context to our posts and photos, and helps us discover the world around us. The success of the LBS industry relies on the trust of the public and their willingness to use our services. While we strive to add value to our users through LBS, we can’t overstep our privacy boundaries in the ways we collect and share user data. Thousands of today’s apps tap into smartphones’ location functionality – and 74% of U.S. smartphone users using their phones to access real-time location-based information (Pew). With a growing number of LBS-engaged users, developers need to stop treating privacy as a dirty word, and start discussing it openly, approaching it head on. The industry is overdue for a frank, open discussion about where privacy stands, and how the industry must improve. Failure to have this conversation risks enormous consequences that threaten the industry’s very future.


  1. What has the LBS industry got wrong about privacy so far?
  2. What has the LBS industry got right about privacy so far?
  3. What responsibilities do developers have in safeguarding user privacy?
  4. What responsibilities do users have to safeguard their own privacy?
  5. What is the future of privacy in the LBS industry?



Caroline Pullen, Intern, SutherlandGold Group

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