The Article 29 Working Party has issued an opinion (WP185) on the data protection standards applicable to geolocation services on mobile devices. The opinion is consistent with the continuing focus of EU policymakers on the application of traditional privacy and security concepts to emerging technologies. The Working Party, an advisory body to the European Commission established pursuant to Directive 95/EC/46, recommends mobile device manufacturers and mobile app providers secure affirmative, opt-in consent before the collection of geolocation data. Consent standards in the EU are strict. The WP states that consent must be clear and specific, and may not be obtained through mandatory acceptance of terms and conditions required to use the device itself. The Working Party further recommends that mobile devices be configured “continuously [to] warn” of the collection of geolocation data, such as through a permanent screen icon.
Mobile app developers, device manufacturers and businesses that provide services over the mobile Web should take heed of these emerging standards as they design products and services for the European market. A copy of WP185 is available at the following link: http://ec.europa.eu/justice/policies/privacy/docs/wpdocs/2011/wp185_en.pdf