July 31, 2020

The Wall Street Journal: Lawmakers Urge FTC Probe of Mobile Ad Industry’s Tracking of Consumers

Data has tracked attendance at Black Lives Matter protests and churches

A group of members of Congress is asking the Federal Trade Commission to open an investigation into the mobile advertising industry’s practice of covertly tracking consumers using digital display ads.

The complaint sent to the FTC on Friday cites a little-known practice of using what is called “bidstream” data derived from the ads that appear on websites and in mobile applications to obtain sensitive information about consumers that can include their real-world locations and information about their age and gender.

That information is then packaged and sold by data brokers. The letter cites one data broker, Mobilewalla, which used such data to analyze the demographics of attendees at recent Black Lives Matter protests. The company’s CEO, Anindya Datta, in 2017 said that it uses mobile location to identify Americans who visited places of worship, to build advertising profiles that can be targeted at religious Americans.

Read the full article on the Wall Street Journal website here

By:  Byron Tau and Patience Haggin
Source: The Wall Street Journal