Dems Call For FTC Probe Of Mobile Tracking By Apple, Google

Law360 (June 24, 2022, 9:53 PM EDT) — Four members of Congress on Friday urged the Federal Trade Commission to investigate how Apple and Google track mobile phone users, saying they’re particularly concerned about third parties’ ability to access this location data in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court‘s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.  

In a letter to FTC Chair Lina Khan, Democratic Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Cory Booker of New Jersey and Ron Wyden of Oregon, along with Rep. Sara Jacobs of California, accused Apple and Google of “engaging in unfair and deceptive practices by enabling the collection and sale of hundreds of millions of mobile phone users’ personal data.”

The lawmakers alleged that the companies have “knowingly facilitated these harmful practices” by developing unique tracking identifiers for their iOS and Android operating systems that they’ve specifically marketed for advertising purposes. These identifiers contain information about users’ movements and web browsing activities that can be purchased or acquired from app developers and online advertisers and be combined with other personal information that data brokers hold to identify and build detailed profiles on specific users, according to the lawmakers. 

“The FTC should investigate Apple and Google’s role in transforming online advertising into an intense system of surveillance that incentivizes and facilitates the unrestrained collection and constant sale of Americans’ personal data,” the lawmakers wrote. “These companies have failed to inform consumers of the privacy and security dangers involved in using those products. It is beyond time to bring an end

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