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In Light of Recent FTC Actions, Review Your Privacy Policy

The United States does not have comprehensive legislation addressing the privacy implications of the collection and use of geolocation data. However, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has used its enforcement authority under Section 5 of the FTC Act to regulate companies engaged in unfair or deceptive practices involving geolocation data.


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Every day billions of mobile and Internet-enabled computers, smartphones, watches, drones and even coffee machines are collecting vast amounts of geolocation data about their users. Apps such as Foursquare, Tinder and Waze, as well as mobile games such as Pokemon Go and Zombies Run all track and reveal an individual’s physical location through GPS, Wi-Fi and cell-based tracking technologies. This information, in turn, can be used to market products and services, deliver context-specific content, monitor users or employees and enforce location-based access restrictions, providing valuable information to companies that can help them uncover new insights about consumers and their behaviors. While this ubiquitous collection of data can have social and economic benefits, it can also pose significant privacy and security concerns.

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