MAPPS Urges Federal Trade Commission to Revise Draft Regulation Limiting Use of
Thursday, January 13, 2011
Posted by: Nick Palatiello
(www.mapps.org), the national association of private sector geospatial firms,
has submitted comments to the Federal Trade
Commission opposing regulatory language that would limit the collection,
sharing or use of "precise geolocation data".
association said a draft regulation, proposed in a Federal Trade Commission
staff report, threatens data collection, applications and growth in the private
draft regulation, "Privacy in an Era
of Rapid Change," is intended to protect consumers' privacy by requiring that
"companies must provide prominent disclosures and obtain affirmative
express consent before using consumer data in a materially different manner
than claimed when the data was collected..." MAPPS called compliance with
requirement "impractical to the point of impossible" for geospatial
believes the current regulatory language threatens information that is
collected by private and government entities to perform E-911 and emergency
response management, environmental protection, homeland security, mortgage
foreclosure monitoring/early warning systems, master planning, and many other
tasks that are conducted by geospatial professionals.
intent of the regulation drafted by the FTC staff - to protect personal privacy
- is laudable, but in its current form, would result in a number of unintended
consequences by severely limiting information collected by the geospatial
community. This information is collected for government agencies to support
government programs and to provide for commercial applications that consumers
are demanding in the marketplace," said Jeff Lovin, MAPPS President
(Woolpert, Inc., Dayton, OH).
urged the FTC staff to more clearly define the term "precise geolocation
data", or exempt such information.
proposals are poorly written, do not define precise geolocation data, and have
serious unintended consequences for industries and professions beyond those
these federal authorities are attempting to regulate," Palatiello said.
"This is a significant issue and one that we need to address with a
unified voice. It is why MAPPS is urging all geospatial professionals to submit
comments to the FCC."
MAPPS letter comes on the heels of letters to the FCC and Congress.
MAPPS has created a blog to update the geospatial community on the threat. The FTC is accepting public comments through January 31.
Formed in 1982, MAPPS is the only national association exclusively comprised of
private firms in the remote sensing, spatial data and geographic information
systems field in the United States. The MAPPS membership spans the entire
spectrum of the geospatial community, including Member Firms engaged in
satellite and airborne remote sensing, surveying, photogrammetry, aerial
photography, LIDAR, hydrography, bathymetry, charting, aerial and satellite
image processing, GPS, and GIS data collection and conversion services. MAPPS
also includes Associate Member Firms, which are companies that provide
hardware, software, products and services to the geospatial profession in the
United States and other firms from around the world. Independent Consultant
Members are sole proprietors engaged in consulting in or to the geospatial
profession, or provides a consulting service of interest to the geospatial
MAPPS provides its 180+ member firms opportunities for networking and
developing business-to-business relationships, information sharing, education,
public policy advocacy, market growth, and professional development and image
For more information on MAPPS, please visit www.MAPPS.org.