Prohibit the sale of geolocation and health data » Tech T100

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A legislative proposal by Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren deals, in line with the modifications in the Supreme Court of the historic case Roe vs. Wade that regulates the right to abortion, to prohibit all types of transactions, sale or transfer of geolocation or user health data, which would put an end to an entire industry of data broker dedicated to the massive commercialization of this type of data, taking refuge in hidden clauses in agreements of terms of service that nobody ever reads.

I can’t think of any context in which the sale of a user’s geolocation or health data would do absolutely no good. There are thousands of cases in which I may have an interest in a apps or a service of some kind collect my geolocation or health data: from the lights in my house that turn on when I’m arriving there, to the apps of exercise monitoring or pill reminders, but in no case does it occur to me that this data can be sold, and therefore used for purposes other than those for which I granted my permission, could be good for me.

Extracting the data obtained by an application with the consent of the user and turning it into a material that others use, generally, to make ultra-targeted advertising is a clear proof of the levels of depravity that marketing has reached: it is an abuse so clear, conscious and obvious of privacy carried out on data that deserves a particularly high level of protection, and intended solely for some to earn money by selling it. That the terms of service of an application are dedicated to hiding the supposed right to trade with that data is nothing more than an abuse made possible by the biggest lie on the internet, the one that affirms that a user has read and understood the terms of service, and must be brought under control.

Elizabeth Warren’s proposal is clear and concrete: that data related to the geolocation or health of a user cannot be commercialized. As simple as it is unambiguous, a law like this would allow any user to file a complaint when they consider that their privacy with respect to this type of data has been violated, something that they could generally verify by receiving certain types of advertising . Trading in this data has gone to absolutely immoral extremes, ranging from advertising to users when they’ve finished exercising (and are more likely to make ill-considered purchase decisions) to advertising “miracle products” or lacking therapies. of all evidence to people who have consulted, for example, information on cancer or other ailments.

No, the fact that we give, explicitly or implicitly, certain data about our geolocation or our health understood in a broad way to a social network or any service on the network should never serve for someone to collect that data and sell it . The bill promoted by Elizabeth Warren is simply a way to put a minimum of common sense in an industry, that of data brokeragewhich has carried out innumerable abuses and has been dedicated to interpreting that users are simply a raw material that can be marketed without limit.

Let’s hope that this new, more reasonable interpretation of privacy comes to fruition and prevails as the only reasonable vision of marketing in the future. And with Lina Khan at the helm of an FTC already unlocked and free to make decisions, that vision could indeed become a reality.

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