Tracking Tech Case Provides Guidance on Customer Opt Outs

From healthcare apps, to mobile devices, to utilities, services are collecting and aggregating customer data across many different types of connected devices. Many mobile apps and services rely on a consumer’s location information. As more mobile apps connect to the Internet to send and receive location data, the FTC, legislators, privacy advocates, and others have identified location information as a particularly sensitive category of data. A recent study conducted by Carnegie Mellon University contained shocking revelations about the frequency with which location information is gathered and transmitted to companies through their mobile apps. At the same time, the recent settlement with in-store retail customer tracking provider Nomi highlights the FTC’s increased scrutiny of data gathering practices and disclosures of mobile application developers.

It is no secret that retailers could derive significant business intelligence from the real-time moments through stores. This is one of the areas around which companies innovate around customers’ private information. For example, Nomi Technologies, a company whose technology allows retailers to track consumers’ movements through their stores, made headlines when it agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that it misled consumers about opting out of their tracking services. This is not why you want to have your company’s innovations in the news.

Business counsel both inside and outside of companies developing applications that leverage mobile geolocation data of consumers and employees should be aware of the many issues that are developing around this area such as: How is geolocation information gathered and how does data flow from device, to app to, third party? How is it shared and used in mobile advertising? When is consent required and how should stakeholders obtain such consent?

 

GPS, Location Data & Privacy Legal News Roundup

Congress Advances Bill To Protect Cell Phone Users’ Privacy
Forbes

The Supreme Court showed unanimity in its discomfort with electronically tracking people without a warrant in its GPS tracking decision in January. But as conveyed by the justices’ written opinions, the splintered reasoning behind rebuking the practice of placing a geo-tracking device on someone’s car without a warrant laid bare the disconnect between how far our technology has come and the outdated privacy protection laws that are struggling to keep pace.

Location Bill Would Slow Down Investigations, Officials Say
PC Magazine

At issue is the Geolocation Privacy and Surveillance (GPS) Act. Different jurisdictions have issued conflicting rulings about how to handle location-based data.

Police Efforts to Ban Citizen Taping Beaten Back by Obama’s DOJ
DailyTech

Cell phone data grabbing, GPS tracking, “national security letters”. Law enforcement argues that accountability via taping violates officers rights to privacy. ACLU disagrees.

Cops, ACLU clash over GOP bill tracking mobile phones
The Hill

The Geolocation Privacy and Surveillance Act, sponsored by Reps. … if a grand jury prosecutor could subpoena historical GPS data in an investigation, …

Privacy Alert: Privacy Legal News Roundup

State Worker Notebook: Privacy a concern for some employees
Statesman Journal

The idea of context-specific privacy is gaining a lot of cachet, so much so that the Obama administration features it as a major aspect of a proposed new Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights. “Consumers have a right to expect that companies will collect, store and use personal information in a manner consistent with the context within which it’s collected.

Third annual Privacy Identity Innovation conference opens today in Seattle
Virtual-Strategy Magazine

The White House recently recommended a Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights, and the European Union is days away from requiring companies to get consent from website visitors before storing advertising cookies on their devices.

San Francisco Tackles the Issue of Unlawful Government Surveillance
Highbrow Magazine
by Elliot Owen

San Francisco civil rights advocates who are concerned about what they call domestic spying on the city’s Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim and South Asian (AMEMSA) communities are celebrating new legislation signed into law on May 9.

US Senator Takes Wrong Turn on DOJ’s GPS Tracking Requests
eWeek

US Senator Al Franken’s letter to US Attorney General Eric Holder regarding the US Justice Department requests for GPS location data from phone companies appears to be based on a flawed understanding of the law.

Failure of credit-reporting agencies to fix mistakes afflicts thousands
Toledo Blade

They can look like harmless errors: A misspelled name. A transposed number. A paid debt listed as past due. Mistakes on credit reports can inflict widespread damage. And because there are insufficient rules on how credit-reporting agencies must correct them, Americans are left virtually powerless to erase the mistakes.