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Privacy lobby slams Google Latitude

Privacy International: 'It's a privacy minefield'

Google Latitude, which uses GPS to allow you to track people from your mobile phone of desktop PC, is under fire from privacy campaigners. They say that Google Latitude could be used to spy on unsuspecting users.

Latitude is a free tool that works from smartphones and PCs. With Latitude installed, users can use GPS and Google Maps to track other friends who are using the service. Crucially, to be tracked, people have to sign up for Google Latitude. They can also limited exactly who can track them, and where they can be tracked.

Google LatitudeSee also: Google lets mobile users pinpoint each other

This has not placated privacy campaigners, however. Privacy International director Simon Davies said: "Many people will see this as a cool technology but the reality is it will be a privacy minefield. I would be concerned about any integrated use across Google services as their security is so poor and it's becoming the world most pervasive system."

Announcing Google Latitude, Google's Vic Gundotra wrote: "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.

"For instance, let's say you are in Rome. Instead of having your approximate location detected and shared automatically, you can manually set your location for elsewhere - perhaps a visit to Niagara Falls."

See also: Is Google responsible for misuse of its tools


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