The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) says it will step as much as shield the privacy of customers in a post-Roe America, declaring the company is “committed to fully enforcing the law” towards unlawful sharing of delicate medical and location data.
In a blog post revealed on Monday by Kristin Cohen, the FTC’s performing affiliate director within the Division of Privacy and Identity Protection, the fee took specific goal at data brokers and third events who share beforehand collected data. The publish factors to a variety of sources that may probably accumulate delicate details about a person however highlights the mixture of location data and well being data as presenting a specific danger to customers.
“The conversation about technology tends to focus on benefits,” Cohen writes:
But there’s a behind-the-scenes irony that must be examined within the open: the extent to which extremely private data that individuals select to not disclose even to household, mates, or colleagues is definitely shared with full strangers. These strangers take part within the typically shadowy advert tech and data dealer ecosystem the place corporations have a revenue motive to share data at an unprecedented scale and granularity.
Though there are various areas of life that customers of digital companies could want to maintain personal, data associated to reproductive well being is particularly delicate, the weblog publish says. As such, the FTC intends to make use of federal and state legislation to pursue any corporations that fail to adequately shield such data or misrepresent the best way it is saved, anonymized, and shared.
“The Commission is committed to using the full scope of its legal authorities to protect consumers’ privacy,” Cohen writes. “We will vigorously enforce the law if we uncover illegal conduct that exploits Americans’ location, health, or other sensitive data. The FTC’s past enforcement actions provide a roadmap for firms seeking to comply with the law.”
The assertion from the FTC comes on the heels of an executive order on abortion care and patient privacy that was signed by President Biden on July eighth. The government order burdened the necessity to safeguard entry to abortion and contraception whereas additionally defending the privacy of those that may entry reproductive well being companies. As such, the order directed the Department of Health and Human Services to develop entry to medical look after pregnant girls and make sure that FDA-approved medicine is broadly obtainable and additionally known as on the FTC to take further steps relating to shopper privacy for abortion seekers.
Since the Supreme Court’s overturn of federal abortion protections, many privacy advocates have raised concerns over the weaponization of data collected by period tracking apps and other online services. With abortion now banned in no less than 10 states and with extra prone to observe, supporters of reproductive justice have urged tech corporations to reduce the gathering and retention of data that might be used to prosecute abortion seekers. So far, the push has had some success: in early July, Google introduced that the corporate would begin to automatically delete records of visits to abortion clinics from customers’ location historical past.