"Google's new Latitude location-sharing service "could be a gift to stalkers, prying employers, jealous partners, and obsessive friends," Privacy International warned Thursday.
Google introduced Latitude on Wednesday. It's a new Google Maps feature that lets users share location data with friends, using either a mobile phone or Google Gears-equipped computer."
"To dispel anticipated privacy concerns, Vic Gundotra, VP of engineering on Google's mobile team, tried to reassure potential Latitude users that Google designed the service so that users are in control. "Fun aside, we recognize the sensitivity of location data, so we've built fine-grained privacy controls right into the application," he said. "Everything about Latitude is opt-in. You not only control exactly who gets to see your location, but you also decide the location that they see."
Nonetheless, Privacy International said it had identified "a major security flaw in Google's global phone tracking system.""
"Privacy International concedes that Google had made some effort to address privacy concerns. But it considers these safeguards useless "if Latitude could be enabled by a second party without a user's knowledge or consent."
As the organization puts it, the "danger arises when a second party can gain physical access to a user's phone and enable Latitude without the owner's knowledge.""
Information Week - Google Latitude Spurs Privacy Backlash
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