Smartphone, Dumb Regulations: Mixed Signals in Mobile Privacy

53 Pages Posted: 31 Jan 2012

See all articles by Christian Levis

Christian Levis

Fordham Intellectual Property, Media & Entertainment Law Journal

Date Written: December 12, 2011

Abstract

The smartphone has turned a user’s location into valuable information. Users of smart devices can use location-based mobile services to get driving directions, check into social networks, or even see which of their friends are around. But the use of this technology, and the new type of data created by it, raises privacy concerns as to who has access to one's location-based information. Because the only legislation covering this technology, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, is more than twenty-five years old, courts encounter problems when trying to use it to resolve these privacy issues, often reaching illogical results. This Note addresses the inadequacy of how access to location-based information is regulated. It begins by examining the current state of mobile technology to determine what kinds of information are available to whom, and how smartphone users engage with these location-based mobile services. These factors are important for creating a workable regulatory system to both ensure the technological capabilities, and protect a user's information privacy. With these considerations in mind, this Note posits that current proposed legislation is not sufficient to deal with these privacy problems. It argues that to correctly address current privacy issues regulation must adapt to the way users engage with the technology by expanding the what is protected as content information and removing anachronistic technological loopholes that no longer make any sense.

Keywords: cell phone, mobile phone, privacy, smartphone, smart phone, application, app, iphone, ipad, android, blackberry, ECPA, Electronic Communications Privacy Act, mobile technology, location, data, location-based mobile service, gps, cell id, wifi, google, foursquare, fourth amendment, Katz, Kyllo

Suggested Citation

Levis, Christian, Smartphone, Dumb Regulations: Mixed Signals in Mobile Privacy (December 12, 2011). Fordham Intellectual Property, Media & Entertainment Law Journal, Vol. 22, No. 1, p. 191, 2011. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1988546

Christian Levis (Contact Author)

Fordham Intellectual Property, Media & Entertainment Law Journal ( email )

140 West 62nd Street
New York, NY 10023
United States

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