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Study: Location-Based Services Popular Among Smartphone Owners Study: Location-Based Services Popular Among Smartphone Owners

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Study: Location-Based Services Popular Among Smartphone Owners

May 11, 2012

Tales of illicit tracking haven't scared smartphone users away from location-based services, according to a new study by Pew.

Nearly three quarters of smartphone owners use real-time, location-based information, the study found. Location-based services can include things like searching for restaurants or gas stations nearby, or using a phone as a global positioning device to navigate.

Eighteen percent of respondents told Pew that they use "geosocial" services like Foursquare to "check in" and share their locations with friends.

Location-based services have been plagued by privacy concerns, from companies surreptitiously collecting users' location information to law enforcement agencies accessing wide swaths of data without warrants.

On Thursday, for example, Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., pressed the Justice Department to explain how it collects and uses personal location information.

"The protections people are guaranteed by the Constitution and by the Supreme Court shouldn't be limited to the use of physical GPS monitoring devices; they should extend to any device law enforcement officials use to track an individual's movements -- including location information obtained from wireless carriers," he said in a statement.

The survey, however, underscores arguments from companies like Google that say location-based services remain popular among smartphone owners.

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