Cybersecurity & Tech Surveillance & Privacy

The Lawfare Podcast: Justin Sherman on the FTC Settlement with Location Data Broker X-Mode

Eugenia Lostri, Justin Sherman, Jen Patja
Friday, January 19, 2024, 8:00 AM
What are the implications of the recent FTC action against data brokers?

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Last week, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reached a settlement with location data broker X-Mode Social. X-Mode collects over 10 billion location data points from all over the world every day, and sells it to clients in a range of industries, like advertisers, consulting firms, and private government contractors. The FTC argued that the data broker was conducting unfair business practices, including selling people’s sensitive location data.

To discuss the FTC settlement and its implications, Lawfare's Fellow in Technology Policy and Law Eugenia Lostri sat down with Justin Sherman, Founder and CEO of Global Cyber Strategies and a Senior Fellow at Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy. They talked about the FTC’s groundbreaking decision to list sensitive locations about which X-Mode cannot sell data, the likelihood that we will see further FTC action against data brokers, and the persistent need for comprehensive privacy legislation to better address harms.

Eugenia Lostri is Lawfare's Fellow in Technology Policy and Law. Prior to joining Lawfare, she was an Associate Fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). She also worked for the Argentinian Secretariat for Strategic Affairs, and the City of Buenos Aires’ Undersecretary for International and Institutional Relations. She holds a law degree from the Universidad Católica Argentina, and an LLM in International Law from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.
Justin Sherman is a contributing editor at Lawfare. He is also the founder and CEO of Global Cyber Strategies, a Washington, DC-based research and advisory firm; a senior fellow at Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy, where he runs its research project on data brokerage; and a nonresident fellow at the Atlantic Council.
Jen Patja is the editor and producer of the Lawfare Podcast and Rational Security. She currently serves as the Co-Executive Director of Virginia Civics, a nonprofit organization that empowers the next generation of leaders in Virginia by promoting constitutional literacy, critical thinking, and civic engagement. She is the former Deputy Director of the Robert H. Smith Center for the Constitution at James Madison's Montpelier and has been a freelance editor for over 20 years.

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