‘Location, Location, Location’ Is Latest Challenge in Data Privacy Compliance

July 27, 2023

Companies that collect and process data containing precise geographic locations of customers via their mobile devices are grappling with a new compliance nightmare as emerging state privacy laws consider such data to be “sensitive personal information.”

The privacy laws enacted or under debate in at least a dozen states portend potential penalties—up to $7,500 per intentional violation in California—and are in addition to other regulatory actions and class action suits. These threaten to kneecap the $69 billion location-based advertising market and other users of data.

Consider the $392 million settlement Google reached with 40 states in November over allegations the company tracked customers with their devices even after they’d turned off location tracking.

Also last year, the Federal Trade Commission sued the data brokerage company Kochava, alleging that its data could track mobile device users to health care clinics and other locations. A federal judge dismissed the FTC suit, determining that location data didn’t reveal personal information or injure consumers. The FTC fought back with an amended complaint.

Scroll to Top