Apple and Google smartphones may come under tighter regulation in Europe after a data protection panel ruled that data on the location of their users should be classed as private, the Financial Times said Thursday.
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The proposals by the panel, which advises the European Commission, are a first step to formulating a law on mobile phone location data, and could be written into Europe's revised Data Protection Directive this year, the FT said.
The panel said companies should get permission from smartphone users before collecting user-location data and should specify what purpose the data are being used for.
"Since smartphones and tablet computers are inextricably linked to their owner, the movement patterns of the devices provide a very intimate insight into the private life of the owners," the FT quoted the panel as saying.
"One of the great risks is that the owners are unaware they transmit their location, and to whom."