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.

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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


UK gov gets twitchy on Google feature creep

(The Register)

Google latitude - power to the people


Google phone tracker puts privacy in danger, say MPs


MPs call on parliament to examine Google Latitude


Lib Dem MPs protest Google Latitude