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A Better Partnership

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May 2017
16
May 16, 2017

FTC Cross-Device Tracking Staff Report

In January 2017, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued a Staff Report on Cross-Device Tracking. Cross-device tracking is a technology which enables the tracking of an individual consumer across multiple devices, such as smartphones, tablets, desktops and other connected devices. Tracking can be deterministic (where a user logs into multiple devices affirmatively identifying the device as his/hers) or probabilistic (where a company infers cross-device activity using factors like common IP address). In the FTC Staff’s view, this technology has many benefits, but also poses a danger to a consumer’s privacy interests.
 
While the FTC Staff Report does not have the force of law, it does offer insights into the FTC’s views on this technology and on steps that should be taken to avoid unfair or deceptive trade practices, which are unlawful under Section 5 of the FTC Act. Specifically, the Staff Report recommends that companies engaged in cross-device tracking:
 
  1. Be transparent about their data collection and use practices;
  2. Provide choice mechanisms that give consumers control over their data;
  3. Provide heightened protections for sensitive information, including health, financial and children’s information; and
  4. Maintain reasonable security of collected data. 
In this era of big data, companies need to be aware of the potential dangers that arise from the collection and storage of certain types of data. The attorneys in the Cybersecurity & Privacy Group at Warner Norcross & Judd, LLP can assist you in navigating this challenging landscape.
 

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