USA: Government privacy watchdog sues Kochava Inc. for allegedly selling sensitive location data that could be used to track people at abortion clinics
"U.S. government sues Idaho data company it says tracks people at abortion clinics", 29 Aug 2022
The Federal Trade Commission sued an Idaho-based data company Monday, accusing it of selling location data from hundreds of millions of mobile devices that could be used to track people at abortion clinics and other sensitive locations.
The FTC, the government’s main privacy watchdog, said in the lawsuit filed in federal court in Idaho that the company, Kochava Inc., was unfairly selling sensitive data in violation of federal law.
“The FTC is taking Kochava to court to protect people’s privacy and halt the sale of their sensitive geolocation information,” Samuel Levine, the director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said in a statement.
The lawsuit asks the court for a permanent injunction and any additional relief the court determines proper.
Sandpoint, Idaho-based Kochava said that the suit had no merit. It said the company complies with all laws, and that the FTC had a fundamental misunderstanding of its business.
“Real progress to improve data privacy for consumers will not be reached through flamboyant press releases and frivolous litigation,” Brian Cox, general manager of the company’s online data marketplace known as the Kochava Collective, said in a statement.
Cox accused the FTC of spreading “misinformation” about data privacy and circumventing Congress, which is weighing a federal data protection law. He said, though, that the company was open to settlement talks if they resulted in “effective solutions.”
The suit appeared to be the first of its kind filed by the FTC since the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in June overturning Roe v. Wade, the 49-year-old precedent that guaranteed abortion rights nationwide...