Data Brokers To Be Barred From Selling Your Location Data Under Proposed Massachusetts Law

A law under consideration in Massachusetts would ban data brokers from selling cell phone location data, Gizmodo reports.

data brokers to be barred from selling your location data under proposed massachusetts law

For those who have been living under a rock, data brokers are constantly selling cellular location data to various entities, including state, federal, foreign, and local governments. While the data is supposed to be anonymized, it can very easily be de-anonymized.

The Location Shield Act would outlaw "selling, leasing, trading, or renting location data" in the state of Massachusetts, and would require companies to obtain user consent if they want to collect or process such data. Noncompliance with the law would expose companies to state legal action via the AG's office, along with class-action litigation.

The law appears to have been catalyzed by the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade. Ever since federal protections for abortion were abolished, the issue of data privacy has taken on new relevance for women. Rights advocates fear that digital evidence of all sorts (including, potentially, data of the kind that the Shield Act tackles) may be used to prosecute women for breaking abortion laws. As a result, a number of rights groups, including the ACLU and Planned Parenthood, pushed for the adoption of the Shield Act, partially as a means of protecting abortion-seekers from prosecution, should they choose to travel to the state for medical procedures. Massachusetts is considered a safe haven for women from other states who may travel there to seek abortions. -Gizmodo

"Every day, unregulated data brokers buy and sell personal location data from apps on our cellphones, revealing where we live, work, play, and more. To protect our privacy, safety, access to abortion and other essential health care, Massachusetts needs to ban this practice now by passing the Location Shield Act," wrote the ACLU on its website

Now to see if it passes, and if so, whether other states will follow suit.

Authored by Tyler Durden via ZeroHedge July 13th 2023