There is a debate going on within the consumer LBS community regarding privacy and transparency. In particular, if a consumer service allows one party access to the location of a second party, should that second party be notified when this location information has been provided? This could be done via SMS, or potentially some visual cue on the second parties mobile device. In principle, such a practice avoids turning safety and social applications into “stalking” services.
In 2005, South Korea, a leading market for LBS services, made this type of notification a legal requirement for consumer LBS services, although the notification mechanism was not made clear. The three major carriers in South Korea have possibly been acting in violation of this law, see article for more details. Joe Francica, Editor-in-Chief of this blog, has written previously about this arcticle here.
For the U.S. market, the CTIA LBS Working Group is addressing these kinds of questions, and will likely be making recommendations for U.S. carriers and service providers. A weaker version of the S. Korea law, the so called Location Privacy Protection Act was enacted by Congress in 2001. This law requires simply that subscribers opt into services that involve the sharing of location data.