Sunday, December 3, 2023

Warren proposes sweeping ban on location and health data sales

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As the expected decision of the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade threatens Washington, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) has announced extensive legislation prohibit the sale of location and health data.

Warren’s Health and Local Protection Act – co-sponsored by a list of Democratic senators, including Senators Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) – would bar “data brokers from selling or transferring location data and data.” There are few restrictions, making the bill one of the most strenuous proposals aimed at regulating data sales.

“Data brokers have benefited from the location data of millions of people, posing significant risks to Americans everywhere selling their most private information,” Warren said in a statement Wednesday. “With this extremist Supreme Court ready to overthrow Roe v. Wade and states seeking to criminalize vital health care, it is more crucial than ever for Congress to protect the sensitive data of consumers.”

If approved, the bill would empower the Federal Trade Commission, state attorneys general and people injured by illegal data sale to sue brokers who have violated the law. The FTC would also receive an additional $ 1 billion over the next decade to assist in enforcing the law. The only exceptions to the bill apply to specific activities protected by HIPAA or the First Amendment, depending on the text of the bill.

Motherboard was the first to report on Warren’s bill on Wednesday, after weeks of reporting describing how companies sell the local data belonging to smart users who have visited abortion clinics. In may Motherboard reported that a local data company,, has allowed users to create “hot maps” of where visitors from an abortion clinic live.

“When an abortion is illegal, researching reproductive health care online, updating a period tracking app, or bringing a phone to the doctor’s office could all be used to track and prosecute women across the United States. That’s uterine surveillance,” Wyden said. Wednesday statement. “Congress must protect the privacy of Americans from abuse by far-right politicians who want to control women’s bodies.”

Last month, Warren signed a letterled by Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), asking FTC President Lina Khan to explain how the consumer protection agency is investigating possible location-based abuses and what measures it may need to better protect consumers.


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