The FTC describes in its lawsuit how it was feasible to determine a device that visited a women’s reproductive health clinic and then link the phone back to a specific family home using a sample of data received from Kochava.
According to an announcement from the FTC, the agency has sued Kochava, a prominent location data provider, for allegedly selling data that the FTC claims can follow people at reproductive health clinics and places of worship.
The announcement is a bold move by the FTC in a post-Roe America, and it indicates that the agency will take action against what it perceives as privacy abuses involving reproductive health and location data.
“Defendant’s violations are related to acquiring consumers’ precise geolocation data and selling the data in a format that allows entities to track the consumers’ movements to and from sensitive locations, including, among other things, locations associated with medical care, reproductive health, religious worship, mental health temporary shelters, such as shelters for the homeless, domestic violence survivors, or other at risk populations, and addiction recovery,” according to the complaint.
According to the FTC’s release, the action seeks to halt Kochava’s sale of sensitive location data and “force the corporation to remove the sensitive geolocation information it has gathered.”
“Where individuals seek health care, counselling, or celebrate their faith is private information that should not be sold to the highest bidder,” said Samuel Levine, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, in a statement released alongside the announcement. “The FTC is suing Kochava to preserve people’s privacy and prevent the selling of sensitive geolocation data.”