O Brother, Where Art Thou? – How New Laws Are Governing the Collection and Use of Geolocation Information Inside Apps by Adam D.H. Grant Posted by Admin on Sep 22 2014

Trying to find out where someone is located is valuable information for businesses and attorneys, but there are new laws winding their way through Congress which directly impact how this information is obtained.

In 2000, George Clooney appeared in the Joel and Ethan Coen comedy titled O Brother, Where Art Thou? The Coen brothers’ movie created the story as a modern satire loosely based on Homer’s poem, The Odyssey. The film is set in 1937 rural Mississippi and the title is a reference to a 1941 film titled Sullivan’s Travels.

In the movie, Ulysses Everett McGill (played by Clooney) walks into a general store and asks a clerk when the store would have in stock certain car parts and Clooney’s hair jelly of choice, Dapper Dan. In response to Clooney’s query, the man in the store tells Clooney it would be two weeks to get the car parts he needed and two weeks to get the jelly.  In true Clooney fashion, his character retorts, “Well isn’t this place a geographical oddity. Two weeks from everywhere!”

Fast forward fourteen years since the release of the film to the age of the smartphone and Clooney would not have to ask that question. He could simply ask Siri to find an auto parts store or a beauty supply store near him. Siri, using the geolocation capabilities in Clooney’s iPhone would be able to tell exactly where he was in the world and within seconds, tell him the closet businesses meeting the descriptions. Using the phone’s location, Siri could even provide Clooney with turn by turn directions to the businesses.



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