Sweeping Legislation Aims to Ban the Sale of Location Data

Article by Joseph Cox and Liz Landers: “Sen. Elizabeth Warren and a group of other Democratic lawmakers have introduced a bill that would essentially outlaw the sale of location data harvested from smartphones. The bill also presents a range of other powers to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and individual victims to push back against the multibillion-dollar location data industry.

The move comes after Motherboard reported multiple instances in which companies were selling location data of people who visited abortion clinics, and sometimes making subsets of that data freely available. Such data has taken on a new significance in the wake of the Supreme Court’s looming vote on whether to overturn the protections offered by Roe v. Wade. The bill also follows a wave of reporting from Motherboard and others on various abuses and data sales in the location data industry writ large.

“Data brokers profit from the location data of millions of people, posing serious risks to Americans everywhere by selling their most private information,” Warren told Motherboard in a statement. “With this extremist Supreme Court poised to overturn Roe v. Wade and states seeking to criminalize essential health care, it is more crucial than ever for Congress to protect consumers’ sensitive data. The Health and Location Data Protection Act will ban brokers from selling Americans’ location and health data, rein in giant data brokers, and set some long overdue rules of the road for this $200 billion industry.”…(More)”.