UK Campaign Launched Against Location Data Security Risks

Privacy technology firm Krowdthink and the Open Rights Group (ORG) have launched a campaign to minimise the security risks of mobile and Wi-Fi geolocation data.

The campaigners warned that individuals could all be at risk from cyber criminals targeting historic location data.

Krowdthink founder, Geoff Revill, said consumers are opting in to be location-tracked by default.

He said: “According to research, 93% of UK citizens have opted into this service so far. 

“Consequently, mobile phone and Wi-Fi service providers have contractually unlimited access to powerful data which is commercially extremely valuable – and also a threat if cyber criminals get their hands on it.”

The campaign, named the Opt Me Out Of Location Campaign, is aimed at encouraging UK citizens to demand that service providers are explicit about what they are asking their customer to opt into.

The campaign aims to raise awareness of legal rights to opt out of location data being used for marketing purposes under both current and future data laws.

Two independent reports were conducted by the campaign sponsors, Krowdthink and ORG, who examined the contracts and practices of the mobile phone and Wi-Fi industry.

The two reports showed that consumers are unwittingly signing up to be location-tracked and showed that the highly sensitive data this generates is being used and sold on for commercial benefit.

The reports also found that mobile and Wi-Fi service providers are not telling customers upfront in store at point of contract signature. They also discovered that providers fail to tell customers online that their movements will be tracked and historic location data will be used for marketing purposes and often sold to third parties.

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