As mobile phone applications, or apps, become more and more widely used for their versatile functions and easy-to-use nature, there are an increasing number of applications that create serious privacy and personal information issues that have prompted, in some instances, legislative response.
There are now available “cyber-stalking apps”, which provide users the ability to track another person’s phone’s exact whereabouts, and report that location without the victim’s knowledge. In order to specifically help deter these kinds of apps from being created or used, the United States has proposed a Location Privacy Protection Act, which may serve to make the use of such apps illegal.
Similarly, app developers must also remain aware that, as their apps obtain greater amounts of personal information from their users, including whereabouts or contact information, such information may pertain directly to children, which may involve numerous legislative and regulatory issues, including the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act or the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act.
Whether there would be any liability attaching to app developers, particularly in the case of cyber-stalking apps, or just to the users of those apps, remains to be seen. Nonetheless, as mobile phones and applications become more and more ubiquitous, and as personal information becomes more widely and readily shareable through, for example, social media sites, there is an increasing concern that the continuation of this trend may soon lead to legal ramifications and legislative oversight.
For more information, please visit; m.theglobeandmail.com/technology/mobile/us-moves-to-ban-cyber-stalking-smartphone-apps/article6357171/