“How are we going to get all the benefits that come from doing geo-location without sacrificing people’s privacy?” asks Lauren Gelman, executive director of Stanford Law School's Center for Internet and Society (CIS).
Ms. Gelman and other privacy experts caution that when users allow companies to track their locations, third parties – such as the government, litigants, and advertisers – can potentially tap into that data. “If you have the information, someone is going to come asking for it.”
Who’s in the Loopt?
As Loopt and Google are moving forward in the realm of geosocial or mobile social networking, companies such as NearbyNow and Placecast are exploring ways that advertisers could potentially exploit growing databases of location-specific information (imagine, for instance, getting a coupon for pizza on your mobile phone after walking by a pizzeria).