FTC bans Outlogic (X-Mode) from selling sensitive location data

Sensitive Location Data

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) banned data brokers on Tuesday Logicallyformerly known as X mode socialfrom sharing or selling sensitive location data with third parties.

The ban is part of a settlement about allegations that the company “sold precise location data that could be used to track people’s visits to sensitive locations, such as medical and reproductive health clinics, places of religious worship, and domestic violence shelters.”

The suggested order also requires it to destroy any location data it has previously collected unless it obtains consumer consent or ensures the data has been anonymized or de-sensitized, and that it maintains a comprehensive list of sensitive locations and a comprehensive privacy program develops with a data protection program. retention schedule to prevent misuse.

The FTC accused X-Mode Social and Outlogic of failing to implement adequate safeguards to prevent misuse of such data by downstream customers. The development marks the first-ever ban on the use and sale of sensitive location data.

X-Mode, which first attracted attention in 2020 sell location data to the US Army, continues to work providing accurate location data which it collects from first-party and third-party apps that integrate the software development kit (SDK) into its apps. It is also said to have obtained location data from other data brokers and aggregators.

Following the revelations in 2020, both Apple and Google urged app developers to remove the SDK from their apps or risk being banned from their respective app stores.

“The raw location data sold by X-Mode/Outlogic is associated with mobile advertising IDs, which are unique identifiers associated with each mobile device,” the FTC said. “This raw location data is not anonymized and can match an individual consumer’s mobile device with the locations they have visited.”

The agency further said that until May 2023, the company had not implemented a policy to remove sensitive locations from the location data it sold, not only endangering users’ privacy but also exposing them to potential discrimination, physical violence, emotional suffering and other damage.

The FTC also called out allow access. their location information in the first place.

Finally, X-Mode is alleged to have been negligent in honoring requests from some Android users to opt out of tracking and personalized ads.

In a statement as long as Speaking to Reuters, Outlogic said it disagreed with the “implications” of the FTC announcement, and that there had been no misuse of location data.

“I commend the FTC for taking strong action to hold this shady location data broker accountable for selling U.S. location data,” said U.S. Senator Ron Wyden. said in a statement shared with The Hacker News.

“In 2020, I discovered that the company had sold location data of Americans to US military customers through defense contractors. While the FTC’s action is encouraging, the agency should not play the role of data broker. Congress must take tough action. privacy laws to protect Americans’ personal information and prevent government agencies from going to court by purchasing our data from data brokers.”

 

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