Develop new rules against the collection and sale of consumers’ location data, a group of 44 Democrats in the US House of Representatives wrote in a letter to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Federal Communications Commission (FCC). App developers are “able to collect sensitive user information and sell it to interested parties for a substantial profit” and they are able to harvest personal information, such as geolocation and phone identifiers, even after permission has been denied by the users, the letter warned. We are concerned that the continued, unregulated commercialization of private geolocation data compromises the safety and privacy of consumers. — letter addressed to FTC Chair Lina Khan and FCC Chair Jessica Rosenworcel. Data brokerage is a multi-billion dollar business as user information, including location data, is available at a price from data brokers without any regard to privacy. The US lawmakers, in their letter, underscored how most people, especially marginalised groups, do not know where their data is going and how it is being used. What are the key demands made in the letter? The House Democrats wrote that both FTC and FCC have “punished bad actors for failing to safeguard location data but fell short of establishing prophylactic rules that will protect consumers”. Here are their recommendations for the two federal agencies: Define location data usage: The letter asked FTC to define the sale, transfer, use, or purchase of precise location data collected by an app for purposes other than the essential function of the app as an “unfair act…
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