Skip to content

FTC bans location data and bars info brokers from duties.

Title: FTC Bans Unauthorized Collection and Sale of Geolocation Data by Companies

Introduction:
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in the United States has taken a significant step to protect consumer privacy by officially banning the collection and exploitation of geolocation data by companies. Following an investigation into two companies, X-Mode Social Inc and InMarket Media LLC, the FTC has prohibited these entities from selling sensitive location data. The companies will also face fines for collecting and commercializing this information without obtaining proper consent from consumers.

Unauthorized Data Collection and Misleading Practices:
X-Mode Social Inc, one of the companies involved in the investigation, had been selling the acquired geolocation data to government contractors under the pretense of national security purposes. However, the company had misled users by assuring them that their location details would only be shared with advertising companies. This revelation highlights the deceptive practices employed by some data brokers, compromising user privacy and trust.

FTC’s Past Actions and the Need for Transparency:
This is not the first time the FTC has intervened against data brokers. In 2014, similar orders were issued against nine companies involved in selling user information to marketing entities. At that time, the FTC proposed a plan to Congress aimed at improving transparency among data brokers. However, progress on this front slowed down after 2020, just before the end of the Trump administration.

Impact on Cyber-Crime Mitigation:
Legal interventions like the FTC’s recent ban play a crucial role in deterring and mitigating cyber-crimes to some extent. When companies cease their unauthorized data collection and sales activities, the demand for such illicit data gradually diminishes among criminals. Moreover, if hackers resort to alternative sources, the price of the information increases, making it less accessible to smaller-scale hackers involved in phishing and ransomware attacks.

Conclusion:
The FTC’s decision to ban the collection and sale of geolocation data by companies is a significant step in protecting consumer privacy. This action holds companies accountable for their unauthorized practices and discourages cyber-criminals from exploiting such data. However, continuous efforts are necessary to ensure transparency and prevent data breaches in the future.

Key Points:
– The FTC has officially banned companies from collecting and exploiting geolocation data without proper consent.
– X-Mode Social Inc misled users and sold geolocation data to government contractors under false pretenses.
– Similar actions were taken by the FTC in 2014, but progress on enhancing transparency among data brokers slowed down afterward.
– Legal interventions like these help deter cyber-crimes and make illicit data less accessible to hackers.
– Continuous efforts are needed to prevent data breaches and protect consumer privacy.

Summary:
The FTC has taken a strong stance against unauthorized collection and sale of geolocation data by companies. Following an investigation, X-Mode Social Inc and InMarket Media LLC have been banned from selling sensitive location data and will face fines. This action serves to protect consumer privacy and mitigate cyber-crime to some extent. Transparency among data brokers is crucial, and this decision emphasizes the need for continuous efforts to safeguard user information.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *