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Title    How Your Sensitive Data Can be Sold After a Data Broker Goes Bankrupt
Date    Thursday February 29, @10:17AM
Author    hubie
Topic   
from the Where-have-you-been-recently? dept.
https://soylentnews.org/article.pl?sid=24/02/28/1230205

upstart writes:

Sensitive location data could be sold off to the highest bidder:

In 2021, a company specializing in collecting and selling location data called Near bragged that it was "The World's Largest Dataset of People's Behavior in the Real-World," with data representing "1.6B people across 44 countries." Last year the company went public with a valuation of $1 billion (via a SPAC). Seven months later it filed for bankruptcy and has agreed to sell the company.

But for the "1.6B people" that Near said its data represents, the important question is: What happens to Near's mountain of location data? Any company could gain access to it through purchasing the company's assets.

The prospect of this data, including Near's collection of location data from sensitive locations such as abortion clinics, being sold off in bankruptcy has raised alarms in Congress. Last week, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) wrote the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) urging the agency to "protect consumers and investors from the outrageous conduct" of Near, citing his office's investigation into the India-based company.

Wyden's letter also urged the FTC "to intervene in Near's bankruptcy proceedings to ensure that all location and device data held by Near about Americans is promptly destroyed and is not sold off, including to another data broker." The FTC took such an action in 2010 to block the use of 11 years worth of subscriber personal data during the bankruptcy proceedings of the XY Magazine, which was oriented to young gay men. The agency requested that the data be destroyed to prevent its misuse.

Wyden's investigation was spurred by a May 2023 Wall Street Journal report that Near had licensed location data to the anti-abortion group Veritas Society so it could target ads to visitors of Planned Parenthood clinics and attempt to dissuade women from seeking abortions. Wyden's investigation revealed that the group's geofencing campaign focused on 600 Planned Parenthood clinics in 48 states. The Journal also revealed that Near had been selling its location data to the Department of Defense and intelligence agencies.

[...] This week, a new bankruptcy court filing showed that Wyden's requests were granted. The order placed restrictions on the use, sale, licensing, or transfer of location data collected from sensitive locations in the US and requires any company that purchases the data to establish a "sensitive location data program" with detailed policies for such data and ensure ongoing monitoring and compliance, including the creation of a list of sensitive locations such as reproductive health care facilities, doctor's offices, houses of worship, mental health care providers, corrections facilities and shelters among others. The order demands that unless consumers have explicitly provided consent, the company must cease any collection, use, or transfer of location data.

[...] The bankruptcy order also provided a rare glimpse into how data brokers license data to one another. Near's list of contracts included agreements with several location brokers, ad platforms, universities, retailers, and city governments.

It is not clear from the filing if the agreements covered Near data being licensed, Near licensing the data from the companies, or both.


Original Submission

Links

  1. "upstart" - https://soylentnews.org/~upstart/
  2. "Sensitive location data could be sold off to the highest bidder" - https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2024/02/how-your-sensitive-data-can-be-sold-after-a-data-broker-goes-bankrupt/
  3. "bragged" - https://themarkup.org/privacy/2021/09/30/theres-a-multibillion-dollar-market-for-your-phones-location-data
  4. "went public" - https://www.reuters.com/markets/deals/data-intelligence-firm-near-go-public-via-1-billion-spac-deal-2022-05-19/
  5. "SPAC" - https://hbr.org/2021/07/spacs-what-you-need-to-know
  6. "wrote the Federal Trade Commission" - https://www.wyden.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/signed_near_letter_to_ftc_and_sec.pdf
  7. "such an action in 2010" - https://www.ftc.gov/sites/default/files/documents/public_statements/use-sale-or-transfer-personal-information-obtained-xy-magazine-and-xy.com-during-its-bankruptcy-proceeding/100712xy.pdf
  8. "Wall Street Journal report" - https://www.wsj.com/articles/antiabortion-group-used-cellphone-data-to-target-ads-to-planned-parenthood-visitors-446c1212
  9. "600 Planned Parenthood clinics" - https://www.politico.com/news/2024/02/13/planned-parenthood-location-track-abortion-ads-00141172#:~:text=A%20company%20allegedly%20tracked%20people's,exceeds%20what%20was%20previously%20known.
  10. "Department of Defense and intelligence agencies." - https://www.wsj.com/tech/cybersecurity/how-ads-on-your-phone-can-aid-government-surveillance-943bde04
  11. "bankruptcy court" - https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/24438602-fe4bdb59-d63e-44b8-854a-b53265a51401?responsive=1&title=1
  12. "restrictions" - https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/24438602-fe4bdb59-d63e-44b8-854a-b53265a51401#document/p38/a2430759
  13. "sensitive locations" - https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/24438602-fe4bdb59-d63e-44b8-854a-b53265a51401#document/p39/a2430758
  14. "Original Submission" - https://soylentnews.org/submit.pl?op=viewsub&subid=62178

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