Digital Marketing and Analytics Firm Files Lawsuit Against FTC Due to Alleged Privacy Violations

A digital marketing and analytics company based in Idaho filed a lawsuit against the Federal Trade Commission for allegedly violating the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Act with its data practices.

Kochava’s principal business unit offers mobile advertising attribution using customizable software tools. The software program enables its customers to acquire data points and stats for digital advertising campaigns and applications. The second business unit collects third-party supplied mobile device data, which Kochava provides through its information marketplace, the Kochava Collective.

Right after the Supreme Court’s decision to revoke Wade v. Roe, privacy proponents have expressed their concern regarding the probability for data brokers and law enforcement in certain states to gather information related to people who visit reproductive health clinics to seek guidance concerning abortions. Soon after the decision of the Supreme Court, the FTC stated its dedication to fully implementing the law against the illegal use and disclosure of highly sensitive data, for example, the collection and usage of user location information and unlawful privacy practices in relation to reproductive healthcare data.

The Kochava Collective offers data feeds and market targeting to clients for advertising reasons. The FTC claims the Kochava Collective provides accurate geolocation information that is connected with Mobile Advertising Identifiers (MAIDs), meaning it is possible to identify and monitor consumers when they go to sensitive areas such as reproductive health centers, therapist’s offices, medical centers, and addiction recovery facilities. The FTC additionally states that the data is time-stamped, therefore it’s possible to tell precisely when a person went to a location and that no technical controls were in place to stop Kochava’s users from monitoring consumers when they go to those locations. The gathering of IP address, latitude and longitude, and mobile advertising identifier data related to consumers’ devices violates the FTC Act, based on the FTC, which is in search of a permanent injunction versus Kochava to avoid future FTC Act violations.

Kochava denies that its clients may use its information to find and track persons and states that the FTC did not understand its services. Kochava says that although the FTC is correct regarding the obtaining of latitude and longitude, IP addresses, and MAIDS connected with consumer devices, those data elements are not obtained until days later, and the particular locations and customers related to MAIDs are not linked. Also, Kochava states in the lawsuit that the FTC is not right in saying that no technical settings were set up to forbid its customers from keeping track of consumers when they go to sensitive places. Kochava explained it introduced a new feature on August 10, 2022, known as Privacy Block, which enables its clients to stop the gathering of sensitive location information like visits to healthcare organizations.

Kochava says that it works consistently and proactively complying with all rules and laws, which include those unique to privacy. It also said that the FTC has threatened the organization with a District Court lawsuit and a proposed arrangement when the lawsuit and settlement are dependent on wrong data. Kochava likewise claims the FTC is going beyond its legal power to impose the FTC Act and is attempting to make the firm a scapegoat to be able to set a precedent across the ad tech sector. Kochava filed a lawsuit to get the Idaho Federal Court to get involved.

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Christine Garcia is the staff writer on Calculated HIPAA. Christine has several years experience in writing about healthcare sector issues with a focus on the compliance and cybersecurity issues. Christine has developed in-depth knowledge of HIPAA regulations. You can contact Christine at [email protected]. You can follow Christine on Twitter at https://twitter.com/ChrisCalHIPAA