The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) warns tech companies that they will crack down on those who falsely claim they “anonymize” user data in the post-Roe era.
“The Commission is committed to using the full scope of its legal authorities to protect consumers’ privacy,” Kristin Cohen, the acting associate director for FTC’s division of privacy and identity protection, stated in a recent FTC blog post.
The statement was released three days after President Biden signed the executive order that protects access to reproductive health care services.
Biden said that the Supreme Court ruling denied fundamental rights to millions of women across the country with “grave” implications for their health, lives, and well-being.
“President Biden has made clear that the only way to secure a woman’s right to choose is for Congress to restore the protections of Roe as federal law. Until then, he has committed to doing everything in his power to defend reproductive rights and protect access to safe and legal abortion,” the White House said.
The executive order signed by Biden requested FTC to consider addressing deceitful or misleading online practices.
The post noted that discussions about the tech industry are often positive but highlighted the issue of highly sensitive data that consumers may not even disclose to their relatives being shared with third parties.
FTC also acknowledged the harmful nature of misusing user health information. This includes risks of illegal usage of information about womens’ reproductive health, including discrimination, mental anguish, and others.
It is in the plans to use its authority against those who do not respect the privacy of their consumers and mislead them. “We will vigorously enforce the law if we uncover illegal conduct that exploits Americans’ location, health, or other sensitive data,” FTC added.
With past steps taken to secure consumer data, including lawsuits against Flo Health fertility app and advertising platform OpenX, the Commission shows that they do not “tolerate companies that over-collect, indefinitely retain, or misuse consumer data.”