The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) sued Kochava, a mobile app analytics provider, for allegedly illegally selling precise geolocation data obtained from hundreds of millions of consumers’ mobile devices.
Geolocation data can be used to track the movements of individuals’ visits to reproductive health clinics, places of worship, domestic violence shelters, addiction recovery facilities, and other sensitive locations.
In a complaint, the Commission alleged that Kochava violated Section 5 of the FTC, which prohibits deceptive and unfair business practices that will likely cause substantial injury to consumers.
The FTC claimed that Kochava’s practice of selling sensitive geolocation enables others to track and identify individuals, exposing them to threats of discrimination, job loss, stalking, stigma, and even physical violence.
The Commission noted that the mobile app analytics provider “lacks meaningful controls over who accesses its location data feed.” On the other hand, consumers typically do not have knowledge about who collected their location data and how it is being used.