The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) this week announced it will ban data aggregator InMarket Media from selling or licensing any precise location data. The proposed order also requires the company to take several steps to strengthen protections for consumers.
According to FTC, InMarket collects location information from a variety of sources, including its own apps and from third-party apps that incorporate its software development kit (SDK). The company then uses this information to create audience segments that can be targeted with advertising.
The FTC alleges that InMarket failed to obtain informed consent from users of its own apps, shopping rewards app CheckPoints and shopping list app ListEase. The company also failed to ensure that third-party apps that incorporate its SDK have obtained informed consent.
The proposed order prohibits InMarket from selling or licensing any precise location data. The company must also take the following steps:
- Delete or destroy all the location data it previously collected.
- Provide a simple and easy-to-find way for consumers to withdraw their consent for the collection and use of their location data.
- Notify consumers whose location data was collected about the FTC's action against the company and provide them with a way to opt out of data collection or request to delete their data.
- Limit the collection and use of location data from InMarket apps to only those users who have provided informed consent.
- Create a sensitive location data program to prevent the company from using, selling, licensing, transferring, or otherwise sharing any products or services that categorize or target consumers based on sensitive location data.
- Develop an SDK supplier assessment program to ensure that companies that provide location data to InMarket via its SDK are obtaining informed consent from consumers.
- Establish and implement a comprehensive privacy program that protects the privacy of consumers' personal information.
The FTC's action against InMarket is a significant step in protecting consumer privacy. The proposed order will help to ensure that consumers have greater control over their location data and that it is not used for unauthorized purposes.