The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has reached a settlement with data broker InMarket Media, prohibiting the company from selling or licensing precise location data. The FTC alleged that InMarket did not inform or seek consent from consumers before using their location information for advertising and marketing purposes. InMarket is the second data aggregator to face a ban in recent weeks, following Outlogic. Both companies are accused of selling location information that could be used to track users’ visits to sensitive locations. InMarket collects location data from its own apps and over 300 third-party applications. The company categorizes consumers into segments based on their locations and serves tailored ads. As part of the settlement, InMarket must destroy previously collected location data and provide a mechanism for consumers to withdraw consent and request deletion of their information.
A joint study published by Consumer Reports and The Markup has found that Facebook receives data on individual users from thousands of companies. On average, Facebook received data from 2,230 different companies per volunteer in the study. Some participants had their data shared by over 7,000 companies, and one participant had their information coming from nearly 48,000 different companies. LiveRamp, a data broker, shared data on the largest number of study participants. The study noted that many of the companies sharing data appeared to be small retailers or non-national brands.