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Timothy B. Lee

Timothy B. Lee

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Andrea Peterson

Andrea Peterson covers technology policy for The Washington Post, with an emphasis on cybersecurity, consumer privacy, transparency, surveillance and open government. She also delves into the societal impacts of technology access and how innovation is intertwined with cultural development.

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Posted at 05:00 PM ET, 05/17/2011

FCC to hold consumer forum on mobile location services

The Federal Communications Commission said Tuesday it will hold a forum for consumers on mobile location services amid growing concern about security and privacy for users of those applications.

The FCC said it has invited top tech companies such as Apple and Google to its event on June 28. At the forum, co-hosted by the Federal Trade Commission, the agencies hope to explain potential risks and benefits of using services such as Facebook Places and Foursquared. The services use GPS and other technologies to identify geo-location of mobile phone users.

The services allow companies to make money by offering coupons and ads to users based on their location. But they also raise fresh anxiety over user security and privacy, especially for younger users who can be targeted by predators.

The agencies said they plan to use information from the all-day forum to write a report on location-based services. The FCC and FTC will take public comments to inform its report.

“Recent reports have raised concerns about the location-based information that is gathered when consumers use mobile devices,” the FCC said in a release.

Lawmakers have focused new attention to location-based services following revelations that Apple and Google had identified the whereabouts of iPhone and Android phone users through the operating systems of those smart phones.

Facebook, Apple and Google will appear before Senate lawmaker on Thursday at a hearing about mobile privacy.

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By  |  05:00 PM ET, 05/17/2011

 
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