The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has filed a lawsuit against data broker Kochava Inc. for selling geolocation data that can track individuals’ movements to sensitive locations. The FTC claims this exposes individuals to potential threats such as stigma, discrimination, and violence. The lawsuit aims to stop Kochava from selling sensitive geolocation data and to require the company to delete the collected information.
Kochava purchases location information from hundreds of millions of mobile devices and packages it into customized data feeds. These feeds can be used for advertising and analyzing foot traffic. However, consumers are often unaware that their location data is being purchased and shared by Kochava.
The FTC alleges that Kochava’s data feeds allow purchasers to identify and track specific mobile device users. The data can reveal information about individuals’ personal health decisions, religious beliefs, and protective measures against abusers. The release of this data could expose individuals to various harms.
Despite the risks, the FTC alleges that Kochava fails to adequately protect its data from public exposure. The FTC is now exploring rules to crack down on harmful commercial surveillance practices that collect, analyze, and profit from people’s information. The case against Kochava will be decided by the court.