April 24, 2024

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Kochava faces legal action over sale of location data

A company that reportedly sells location data that some worry could be used to identify people having abortions is the target of legal action brought by a US consumer watchdog.

Kochava Inc. is accused by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) of selling data from hundreds of millions of mobile devices.

The information, according to the report, may indicate visits to clinics for reproductive health as well as to houses of worship, shelters for domestic abuse, and centres for addiction treatment.

Kochava claims to follow privacy laws and has criticised “frivolous lawsuits.”

According to the FTC, the company’s data feeds allow customers to locate and follow certain mobile device users.

The commission claims that, after analysing a sample of Kochava data that was made publicly available, it would be possible to identify people who have visited a clinic for reproductive health and could also assist in identifying medical professionals who perform or assist in the performance of reproductive health services.

The company, which was established in 2011, claims to “comply with all user data privacy and consent rules” on its website.

And earlier this month, it announced Privacy Block, a piece of technology that, according to the company, will take location data for health services out of its data marketplace.

Kochava’s Brian Cox said in a statement to the BBC that the case showed the FTC had a “fundamental misunderstanding” of how the company’s data business operated.

All of the location data, according to Mr Cox, was provided by other businesses, specifically “third-party data brokers,” who all indicate that the data comes from “consenting users.”

Following a decision by the US Supreme Court that effectively allowed several states to outlaw abortions, there is increased worry about the tracking of people to reproductive-health facilities.

Protesters have expressed concern that data may be used to identify and aid in the prosecution of women who have abortions.

Google announced in July that it would remove location information that could be used to determine a person’s visitation to an abortion facility.

In a previous article, Vice magazine discussed data that was made public by other brokers and how it might be used to monitor clinic visits.