Ending the Use of Real-time Mobile-location Data Sharing: The Impact on Marketers

By Martech Outlook | Tuesday, March 05, 2019

Mobile-location Data SharingThe debate on data-privacy has fired up recently with the stories that ran all over the media platforms regarding the collection and use of real-time mobile-location data by the marketers that use the data to spy on consumers. The misuse of location data is unavoidable due to its availability in a wide range of sources and pricelessness. 

Today, most users are well aware of their private data being used by the marketers due to recent news reports about the scandals and breaches. A survey by Blis, a location-intelligence company, revealed that consumers have a bit nuanced view of location tracking. There is a 33 percent of people who have disabled location tracking and 29 percent of people who have enabled it permanently while 39 percent of people are those who sometimes will allow it when prompted.


The era of a largely self-regulated online environment is drawing toward a messy conclusion because of the arrival of the CCPA and other state-level bills which aim to offer similar consumer protections but have different parameters. The California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (CCPA) which will come into effect this year can bring significant fines down on non-compliant businesses and marketers. These companies are currently struggling to prepare for this pending data privacy legislation in the U.S.  This has shaken both the ad trade bodies and high profile business executives who are demanding for single federal U.S. privacy law.

Facebook is collecting personal information from many smartphone apps including those who are not connected to the social network. After testing more than 70 apps in Apple’s App store, The Wall Street Journal reported that without prominent disclosures, apps are sending data.  This revelation of data gathering by Facebook created a legal headache for the social network as app users filed class action lawsuits against the company and third-party app developers, and government regulators have started investigations. According to the report by Associated Press, New York Gov., Andrew Cuomo asked the Department of State and the Department of Financial Services to investigate an invasion of consumer privacy after the publication of the journal's report and also asked federal regulators to crack down on apps which share personal information without the knowledge of users.   


Therefore, mobile marketers need to be conscious of consumer privacy when their apps collect sensitive personal information about users to avoid counterblast. Social media apps are compelling tools for advertising and marketing, but they can distribute negative publicity which could damage a brand's image.

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