Canadian Journal of Law and Technology


Eloïse Gratton


mobile commerce, tracking technologies, consumer consent, location-based advertising


The development of location-based advertising, for all its convenience and usefulness, introduces new and heightened privacy risks for consumers that must be addressed. The portability of wireless devices and the ubiquity of their applications, coupled with an ability to pinpoint the location of wireless users and reveal it to others, could produce a system where the everyday activities and movements of these users are tracked and recorded. Wireless users would receive unanticipated advertising messages on their wireless device, commonly referred to as ‘‘wireless spam’’, generally considered a form of privacy violation.

In order to obtain a valid consent from the wireless user, the service provider will have to make an effective disclosure that covers all of the tracking- and storage- related issues. Also, an analysis of the present laws, regula- tions and directives, as well as the specific nature of this type of service, may help determine what aspects the consent of the wireless user should cover in order to protect the user from receiving wireless spam.

This paper is, therefore, meant to propose a solution, demonstrating how a service provider may obtain informed and meaningful consent from the wireless users prior to providing them with location-based adver- tising. Consent would also comply with the different laws and regulations regarding the protection of personal and location data as well as spam control.