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Lib Dems To Probe Google Latitude Mobile Tracking System

Liberal Democrats have tabled an early day motion to look into Google recently-announced Latitude phone tracking technology and will pay particular attention to the "privacy implications" of the service.

The early day motion filed by Lib Dem Home Affairs spokesman, Tom Brake, also wants the government to take action to ensure that Latitude does not represent a threat to privacy.

Google released the new feature last month and allows users to show their location via their mobile phones to their acquaintances. Google heavily stressed that this is a wholly voluntary scheme, to which users can unsubscribe at any time.

But Brake was adamant that "This system poses an insidious threat to our hard-won liberties. 24-hour surveillance and a Big Brother society are new realities."

According to ITPro, the Liberal Democrats have been quite antagonist vis-a-vis Google's technology having previously complained about Youtube user logs and Google's Streetview online photo mapping service.

Stuart King from Computerweekly, is quick to underline the irony of the motion, in a country that has the highest ratio of CCTV cameras in the world, where number plates are automatically scanned, where toddlers DNA details are entered in a database and where local councils can use terror laws to spy on people.

Go To Page 2 for our comments and more related links

Our Comments

It is easier for the Liberal Democrats to take on Google than the current government. Tom Brake mentions 24-hour surveillance and a "big brother" society in his Early Day Motion but failed to notice that both of these new realities (as he puts it) are down to local and central government. Google Latitude is nothing more than a service combining social networking and GPS features. Much ado about nothing.

Related Links

Lib Dems warn on Google’s Latitude phone tracker (opens in new tab)

(ITPro)

UK gov gets twitchy on Google feature creep (opens in new tab)

(The Register)

Google latitude - power to the people (opens in new tab)

(Computerweekly)

Google phone tracker puts privacy in danger, say MPs (opens in new tab)

(Dailymail)

MPs call on parliament to examine Google Latitude (opens in new tab)

(Vnunet)

Lib Dem MPs protest Google Latitude (opens in new tab)

(Pocket-Lint)

Désiré Athow
Désiré Athow

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at ITProPortal.com where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.