FTC to Crack Down on Illegal Sharing of Citizen’s data

The U.S Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the U.S agency primarily responsible for consumer protection, warned that they would be cracking down on companies which illegally share or sell sensitive consumer data.

This warning is in response to a growing consumer awareness surrounding the private market of personal data and the inability of a consumer to reasonably prevent such usage.

“While many consumers may happily offer their location data in exchange for real-time crowd-sourced advice on the fastest route home, they likely think differently about having their thinly-disguised online identity associated with the frequency of their visits to a therapist or cancer doctor,” FTC’s Kristin Cohen said.

Instances of one such practice which may no longer be ignored by the FTC are software development kits (SDKs) embedded in mobile apps. These SDKs gather personal data that is supposedly anonymous and then sell the aggregates.

This practice, at its core, collects the personal data of a knowing or unknowing consumer and turns it into a profit. The consumer sees none of these benefits.

Furthermore, as the FTC notes, the abuse of mobile location and health information exposes users to significant harm.

“These companies often build profiles about consumers and draw inferences about them based on the places they have visited.”

The crack down consists of enforcing, what the FTC refers to as “vigorous enforcement”, of laws already on the books that criminalize turning a profit on of health, location or other sensitive data.

The post FTC to Crack Down on Illegal Sharing of Citizen’s data appeared first on IT Security Guru.

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