Federal Trade Commission Commissioner Alvaro Bedoya wants companies that collect location information to take a hard look at their practices and what they can do to better protect their users.
“In 2022, our geolocation technology is not under control”- Bedoya said at the National Association of Attorneys General Presidential Summit: “Consumer Protection 2.0: Tech Threats and Tools”
“There is a large, unregulated market for this data,” he said. “If you are in an abusive relationship, if you are a victim of stalking, then your inability to protect this data is a real threat to your safety. But it is now so much worse than that. Today, this lack of privacy threatens people who want to have private lives without their employer finding out and firing them. It threatens servicemembers stationed abroad who want to use fitness apps but who do not realize that those apps broadcast their location to the public and to our adversaries. And now, a lack of location privacy also threatens people who must make deeply private choices about their bodies and their families.”
“So, what do we do? I think that any company that collects, retains, or uses location data should think hard about how to better protect their users. Because I’ll be asking those companies: Does the collection need to happen at all? Why and how are you using that data? What more can you be doing to protect your users?”
“There are various federal laws that govern the collection, use, and sharing of location data or other sensitive user data. These include the FTC Act, the Safeguards Rule, the FCRA, the Health Breach Notification Rule, and the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule. “
“I will do everything in my power to ensure that these laws are enforced rigorously. Many of you can enforce similar and at times overlapping state laws. I urge you to prioritize their enforcement.”