The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has lodged a revised complaint against mobile data broker Kochava, once again focusing on the alleged failure to anonymize location data provided by the company. According to the amended complaint filed by the FTC, Kochava’s data collection practices enable the precise geolocation tracking and identification of individual consumers, which is not truly anonymized as previously claimed. The complaint underlines that this data is not anonymous and can be used to track and identify specific individuals, as it is often paired with their names, addresses, email addresses, and phone numbers.
This development is part of an ongoing lawsuit initiated by the FTC against Kochava, originally raising concerns about the sale of highly accurate geolocation data that could potentially expose sensitive information about individuals. The FTC’s amended complaint comes after a US District Court judge dismissed the initial complaint, allowing the FTC to provide additional details and strengthen its case.
Kochava had previously countered the FTC’s claims, arguing that the data it sells is not personally identifiable and that the company’s practices do not amount to unfair conduct as defined by law. The amended complaint seeks to challenge these claims and reaffirm the FTC’s stance on the potential privacy risks associated with Kochava’s data practices.
While this case highlights the ongoing legal battle between data brokers and regulatory authorities, it also underscores the growing scrutiny around the collection, sharing, and utilization of location data, raising important questions about consumer privacy and data protection in the digital age. The outcome of this case could have significant implications for data brokerage practices and privacy regulations in the United States.
The FTC has been actively committed to improving data security and privacy. Recently, the FTC and the US Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights (OCR), addressed approximately 130 hospitals and health app developers, alerting them to the potential risks associated with online tracking technologies.