Privacy law scholars must address potential for nasty satellite data surprises

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Fitness apps and other smart devices embedded with GPS satellite chips and other sensors may use satellite data to help users stay fit and healthy, but, according to Penn State and Penn State Dickinson Law researchers, they unwittingly open a gateway to privacy-related legal and ethical headaches and are a repeated source of national security threats.

In a session at the Penn State Law Review annual symposium held today (March 22), the researchers and Dickinson Law professors said that immediate focus is needed on how vast quantities of data, collected from sensors embedded in smart devices combined with both government-owned and privately owned satellite mapping technologies, is aggregated, used, disseminated, and bought and sold. Government-owned satellite mapping technologies, including global positioning satellites provide free, worldwide access for use in GPS chip-embedded devices.

“A lot of recent attention has focused on analyzing legal frameworks and ethical complexities behind the data collection of smart devices, software apps and social media platforms, as well as addressing privacy concerns of and privacy-law based challenges to satellite-based mapping platforms,” said Anne Toomey McKenna, Penn State Dickinson Law’s Distinguished Scholar of Cyber Law and Policy and a Penn State Institute for CyberScience (ICS) co-hire. “However, there is a gap in the privacy and cyber-related legal literature regarding the analysis of the technology and law behind government and private satellites and how the private sector uses satellite data through smart devices and apps.” ..Read more..

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