Kochava and FTC may settle privacy battle, court papers suggest

Court papers filed this week indicate that Kochava might be open to settling privacy charges brought against it by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). In a joint motion filed on Tuesday, Kochava and the FTC requested a five-week extension of a deadline to file certain pre-trial paperwork, stating that the extra time “would facilitate settlement talks.”

U.S. District Court Judge B. Lynn Winmill in Idaho granted the request on Wednesday, extending the deadline from May 6 to June 14.

A spokesperson for Kochava referred to the move as a “procedural development,” emphasizing that the company “has always welcomed productive conversations with the FTC and ways that we can work collaboratively to protect user data.”

The FTC’s 2022 complaint against Kochava alleges that the company engaged in an unfair business practice by selling precise geolocation data that could expose sensitive information, such as visits to doctors’ offices or religious institutions. Additionally, the FTC claimed that Kochava sells mobile advertising IDs, unique identifiers that persist unless consumers reset them.

Kochava countered in a motion seeking dismissal that the data it sells isn’t “personally identifiable,” and that even if the FTC’s allegations were proven true, they wouldn’t amount to “unfair” conduct.

In February, Judge Winmill rejected Kochava’s argument and allowed the FTC to proceed with the complaint. Winmill stated that the allegations, if proven true, could support the claim that Kochava engaged in an unfair business practice, causing “substantial injury” to consumers.

“Kochava allegedly provides its customers with vast amounts of essentially non-anonymized information about millions of mobile device users’ past physical locations, personal characteristics, religious and political affiliations, and more,” Winmill wrote in February.

Kochava’s founder and CEO, Charles Manning, expressed confidence that the company would prevail on the merits. He emphasized that Kochava has always operated in compliance with privacy rules and laws, including those specific to privacy.

“Never in a million years did we imagine that as a small, law-abiding company we’d find ourselves in the ring on behalf of an entire industry,” Manning said.

Before the FTC filed its lawsuit, Kochava announced a “privacy block” feature that removes known health services locations from its marketplace. Manning stated in February that the feature “has been blocking over 2.1 million locations from its data products on an ongoing basis.”

Written by Maya Robertson


Leave a Reply

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


Google stands firm in defense of Play Store against Epic Games’ demands

Meta unveils enhanced AI-powered ad tools at NewFronts 2024