Wireless location-based services—smartphone or tablet application features that utilitize realtime GPS data—have become common and prevalent in most new mobile applications. Though they can be convenient, appealing features for users, mobile LBS also involve consumer privacy risks, which may prove to be a concern for both federal regulators and private litigants. For this reason, it is important for businesses offering LBS-enabled services to be aware of the legal "do's and don'ts" and adjust their business practices accordingly. Proactively implementing best practices at the outset is far less costly than being singled out by regulators, litigants and the media after the fact for privacy mishaps.
This article describes the rapid growth of the LBS-enabled mobile services market and associated privacy implications, and outlines practical guidance for entities that utilize LBS in their marketing practices.