back to article Court gives FTC 30 days to swing again in privacy bout with location data slinger

An FTC lawsuit against Kochava, alleging the data broker harmed Americans by selling records of their whereabouts, has failed. That said, a federal court has given the US government agency 30 days to come up with a better legal argument and try again. "We are pleased the court agreed with a number of our arguments, and we …

  1. John Savard

    Home Address

    That an individual's location at night is likely the individual's home address, from which that individual's identity can be deduced seems to me to be rather obvious, and not something highly speculative. Thus, I am dismayed by the judgement. But what is clearly needed is an amendment to the Federal wiretap statute which would make collecting or selling that kind of data utterly illegal from the get-go.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Judge: "Clerk, make the computer show me today's docket. Thank you. Now, what's this data-privacy case about?"

  3. MachDiamond Silver badge

    Fiction addict

    Anybody that's into spy and military thrillers is going to understand how much data can be gleaned from location data. The same goes for the voice actuated 'assistants'. The content might not even matter so the argument that it isn't being collected or disclosed means nothing. I'd like to start a company that modifies the software being used in new cars that harvests PII although some of that is the owner's doing stupid things like pairing their phone with the car. Even people renting a car will often pair their phone and leave behind a treasure trove of information when they find out they can't erase the data when they turn the car in. There are still people that need to be serious about their personal privacy and would pay a fair amount to keep their car from spying on them.

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: Fiction addict

      You don't even need to read fiction to know. This has been proven over and over for the last ten years by many, many researchers with impeccable credentials.

      The FTC did indeed drop the ball if they did not include that research in their filing.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Fiction addict

      My credit card company (Citi) started sharing my rewards balance with Amazon and Paypal without my permission, so I could use my rewards directly with them. (Which I don't ever want to do.) I tried pointing out that, as it gives 1% rewards for each purchase plus 1% rewards for each payment, simply monitoring my rewards balance would tell them the size of every purchase I make, when I make payments and how much they are (this would be the bigger rewards), when I use rewards and how much even if it's with someone else (balance drops), and whether I'm paying it off in full each month (sum of small rewards minus big rewards). They didn't seem to understand why I wouldn't want Amazon and Paypal to have this information.

  4. Kev99 Silver badge

    If they're tracking people people gping to health care facilities, isn't that basically a violation of HIPPA ?

    1. Barry-NJ

      HIPAA isn't as expansive as many people believe. It doesn't declare that your health data is secret and out of bounds to everyone. Instead, it imposes data protection requires on specific entities, such as providers, insurers and related parties. But, if your gossipy neighbor Sam, who is a furniture salesman, sees you going into an oncology center, a Planned Parenthood office or an abortion clinic and spreads the information all around town, he's broken no laws because HIPAA doesn't apply to him. These apps that are reporting location to a data broker are a bit like Sam, not an entity covered by HIPAA.

  5. low_resolution_foxxes

    "We sell personal information about where a user sleeps at night in their home and where that person goes throughout the day.

    We sell this data to anyone for money. But honestly sir, it's not creepy or a breach of privacy"

    And this is why I try to avoid installing apps. I vaguely trust something on a website - I know they can monitor me from a distance, but if they write their own code and encourage me to install it on my phone - I have no idea what information its shipping back to them.

  6. Quenda

    Tracked by big Mac

    According to this lovely bit of tracking is on the McDonald's app!

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Re: Tracked by big Mac

      Maybe that's why it takes up to ten minutes to start

  7. Frank Bitterlich

    We didn't do it. And if we did, it was totally legal. And if not, it didn't harm anybody. Well, maybe it did, but you didn't drag anybody into court to testify and publicly put out all that private stuff that we violated. And if it did, it wasn't that bad. And if it was, you have no jurisdiction over us, anyway.

    The "It may be illegal, but you didn't prove actual harm" argument appears to work well in that country. It's probably from the NRA playbook.

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