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    Media Center / Legal Updates

    FTC Bans Data Broker from Selling Precise Consumer Location Data

    January 23, 2024

    To settle the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) charges, and as detailed under the FTC Order published on January 18, data aggregator InMarket Media which monetizes data tracking precise location, will be prohibited from selling or licensing any precise location data, due to failure to obtain informed consent from tracked users and disclose such material fact (directly, or through third-party apps), thereby engaging in prohibited deceptive or unfair practices in violation of Section 5(a) of the FTC Act.

    InMarket Media practices included the sale and licensing of precise location data, as well as the creation of audience segments based on sensitive location information collected from a variety of sources, including its own apps and from third-party apps that incorporate its SDK. Cross-referencing consumers’ location histories with advertising-related points of interest allowed to conduct targeted-advertising based on their past behavior.

    Furthermore, InMarket Media’s policy for retaining geolocation data for five years, was deemed unnecessary and increased the risk of disclosure and misuse. The order requires InMarket Media to delete or destroy all previously collected location data unless consumer consent is obtained or the data is de-identified.

    In addition, the FTC has mandated several steps to strengthen protections for consumers, including the establishment of an SDK supplier assessment program to ensure that companies that provide location data to InMarket Media via its SDK are obtaining informed consent from consumers or must stop using such information.

    The FTC order against InMarket Media, along with the recent settlement brough by the FTC involving the unfair collection of location data, revels the significant restrictions and requirements related to the improper collection and use of consumers’ precise location data.

    The order is subject to public comment for 30 days. After this period, the FTC will decide whether to make the order final.

    We will keep you updated on the development of such proposed order.

    APM Technology and Regulation Team.

    This document is intended to provide only a general background regarding this matter. It should not be regarded as setting out binding legal advice but rather as a practical overview based on our understanding.