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FTC sues company that sells consumers’ sensitive location information


For many of us, our mobile phone is a constant companion, with us wherever we go. It’s also constantly collecting information about us, what we do, and where we do it. And unbeknownst to many of us, once that information is collected, much of it gets sold onwards in a murky marketplace of data brokers and advertisers. Because this market for our data is not transparent, it’s almost impossible to figure out who has information about us and what they’re doing with it.

Our phones can also reveal far more about us than we might realize: important details about our lives and where we’ve been. For example, our phones might be periodically sending their exact location to tech companies. This data can pinpoint our comings and goings with startling precision. Think what this might reveal: what therapist you’re seeing, what medical treatment you’re seeking, your visits to places of worship, and even your reproductive choices. This type of tracking can cause enormous harm to consumers, including stigma, emotional distress, discrimination, or even physical violence.


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