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FTC sues company for selling identifiable location data, including abortion clinic visits

The Federal Trade Commission has sued a data broker called Kochava, alleging the business sold geolocation information that may be used to reveal visits to sensitive locations. The agency says the info could show movements to and from reproductive health clinics, places of worship and addiction recovery centers, and also homeless and domestic violence shelters.

“By selling data tracking people, Kochava is enabling others to recognize individuals and exposing them to threats of stigma, stalking, discrimination, job loss and also assault,” the agency said. It wants Kochava to avoid selling such data also to delete sensitive geolocation information it has collected. Samuel Levine, director of the FTCs Bureau of Consumer Protection, said the move can be an try to protect people’s privacy.

The FTC says the info includes timestamped latitude and longitude locations which are matched with original mobile device identification numbers. It alleged that Kochava’s custom data feeds allow its customers “to recognize and track specific mobile device users.” The agency claims that a person who buys the info could compare the positioning of a phone (particularly if it’s in exactly the same place overnight) against property records to recognize someone and follow their movements. Actually, utilizing a data sample, the FTC says it had been in a position to track a tool from the reproductive health clinic to a single-family residence, along with other locations.

In June, the Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade, which had conferred a nationwide to safe abortion access because the early ’70s. From then on decision, Google started deleting abortion clinic visits from users’ location history. The FTC is certainly going a step further by attempting to halt the sale of device-level geolocation data that may be used to recognize somebody who visits as well as works at a reproductive health clinic.

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