As smart as human beings might be, they are not really perfect in any conceivable sense. This is backed up well by all the occasions that highlighted our flaws, and consequentially, made us go through a lot of detrimental scenarios, therefore forcing the world to look for a defense mechanism. To the world’s credit, it addressed the stated need in the most efficient manner possible, and it did so by bringing dedicated regulatory bodies into the fold. You see, with a well-defined authority running the show in each and every area, the horizons instantly looked a lot safer than ever before. However, the dynamic shifted once again when technology turned up on the scene. Technology’s emergence was somewhat of a setback for our regulatory industry because it gave people a chance to hide all their misdoings rather easily. The said reality, as you can guess, ended up disturbing the human spectrum like nothing else, but fortunately enough, we are now witnessing yet another transition, and this one is wholly predicated upon reimagining the way we use technology. In fact, if you want some evidence for the same, you only have to look at a recently-proposed legislation.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) has formally proposed a new bill, which will ban the sale of any location and health data. Named as Health and Location Protection Act, the bill is also co-sponsored by some other Democratic senators, with the likes of Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) making the list. Assuming the bill is signed into law, it will allow Federal Trade Commission, state attorneys general, and people hurt by an unlawful data sale to sue the data broker in question. Furthermore, alongside the authority, FTC can even expect to receive around $1 billion over the next decade so to ensure proper enforcement at every step. Interestingly enough, the news of this bill arrives right after a sensational report claimed how certain companies were selling location data of the users who visited abortion clinics. For instance, one particular Motherboard report exposed a location data firm, Placer.ai, who was basically giving the users an option to create “heat maps” of where abortion clinic visitors live.
“Data brokers profit from the location data of millions of people, posing serious risks to Americans everywhere by selling their most private information,” said Sen. Elizabeth Warren. “With this extremist Supreme Court poised to overturn Roe v. Wade and states seeking to criminalize essential health care, it is more crucial than ever for Congress to protect consumers’ sensitive data.”
This isn’t the first time we are seeing Warren trying to improve the regulations around location data. Only last month, she signed on a letter led by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) that asked FTC to provide more details about its approach to investigating all the cases where location tracking feature was seemingly misused.