Adam Cohen of The New York Times has an opinion piece on locational privacy and why there hasn’t been as much attention paid to its loss as we might expect. He hypothesizes that one reason may be that we enjoy having certain technology in our lives, and that the down side of such technology may be accepted. Then, too, people are often not aware of the many ways in which their location and activities is being monitored or recorded. Cohen writes, in part:
What can be done? As much as possible, location-specific information should not be collected in the first place, or not in personally identifiable form. There are many ways, as the Electronic Frontier Foundation notes, to use cryptography and anonymization to protect locational privacy. To tell you about nearby coffee shops, a cellphone application needs to know where you are. It does not need to know who you are.
When locational information is collected, people should be given advance notice and a chance to opt out. Data should be erased as soon as its main purpose is met. After you pay your E-ZPass bill, there is no reason for the government to keep records of your travel.