September 2, 2022

U.S Trade Commission Suing Over Tracking Data

  • Analysis

By Ophelia Garrett

In Brief: 

On Monday the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) sued Idaho-based data broker Kochava Inc. for selling data of geolocations from millions of mobile devices after it was discovered that the data could be used to track locations. 

The Background: 

Reuters reports the FTC said consumer data could be used to trace people's movements to and from sensitive locations including "reproductive health clinics, places of worship, homeless and domestic violence shelters, and addiction recovery facilities." Kochava responded by calling the FTC action "frivolous."

Kochava stated that the issue gained interest after the June Supreme Court ruling that overturned the Roe v. Wade decision. The technology industry fretted that police or other entities could access customers' search history, geolocation and other information revealing pregnancy plans.

Data that is being reviewed and called into question includes, but is not limited to, "precise, timestamped location data collected from more than 61 million unique mobile devices in the previous week."

Notable Quotes: 

"Where consumers seek out health care, receive counseling, or celebrate their faith is private information that shouldn’t be sold to the highest bidder.” — Samuel Levine, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection

What do you think?