If you would like to know who can locate your own mobile – or that of your children, click below.
Location services work by identifying the physical location of a mobile phone or other mobile device. This could be your own mobile phone or the mobile phone of a relative, friend or work colleague.
A wide range of new services are possible using location services including telling you how to get to the nearest cash machine or chemist; allowing a parent to identify the location of his or her child; making it easier for friends to meet up for an evening out; and assisting firms with the security of lone workers.
All location services are subject to the legal requirements of the Data Protection Act. For consumers this means that location information can be used only after consent is provided by the user of the phone being located. For business users employers must explain to their employees how location information will be used before it is collected.
The Data Protection Act requires that customers are made aware of:
- who their location service company is;
- the purposes for which personal data – including location information – will be collected and processed;
- whether data will be sent to a third party for the purpose of providing the location service; and
- length of time for processing data, including storage, will be.
In addition to data protection legislation, participants in the UK location services industry – including both location service providers and mobile phone operators – have agreed a Code of Practice with the Home Office for the provision of location services. This Code sets out additional requirements for different types of location services.
This includes requirements relating to:
- registration of individuals and organisations using location information;
- provision of reminders on location services operating on a mobile phone;
- what level of accuracy of location information can be provided to third parties in different circumstances;
- how customers can stop a locating service which is running on their phone; and
- responsibilities of a locating business or other organisation.
While details vary, all location services depend on the disclosure of where you are to companies or to other individuals. This offers you significant opportunities to use new services. However, these services should be used with the same care as you would take in telling other people your location in a phone call or SMS. Further, unlike a phone call or SMS, they can provide information on your location over a period of time.
Only consent to the use of your location information if you would be willing to provide the same company or individual with details of where you are in a phone call or SMS. Be aware that your consent may apply for a period of time. Don’t forget that you can withdraw your consent to being located at any time.
If a user of a location service believes that the industry Code of Practice are being breached by the location service provider, he or she may contact the Mobile Broadband Group by e-mail at [email protected] or write to The Secretariat, Mobile Broadband Group, PO Box 34586, London SE15 5YA.
If you have any concerns about your safety which relate to the operation of any location service then you should contact Creativity Software Ltd through the Contact Us section of this website.
If you have immediate concerns then you should, as in other circumstances, contact the police by dialling 999 or 112.