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By Chris Mills Rodrigo
The International Digital Accountability Council (IDAC) earlier this month revealed that Premom, which has been downloaded more than half a million times, was secretly collecting sensitive data about users and sharing it with three Chinese advertising companies with its Android app.
The nonprofit consumer privacy group alerted the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Illinois attorney general about the application, raising concerns that the data-sharing could be breaking state and federal laws.
The investigation found that Premom users were not aware of the geolocation data and hardware identifier collection happening through the app.
The Hill has reached out to the app for comment.
Klobuchar and Moran urged the FTC to investigate the claims in the IDAC’s report.
“While we understand that Premom has taken steps to update its app to halt the sharing of its users’ information with these companies, it is concerning that Premom may have engaged in these deceptive practices and shared users’ personal data without their consent,” the senators, joined by Sens. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.), wrote.
“Additionally, there may still be users who have not yet updated the Premom app, which could still be sharing their personal data—without their knowledge or consent.”
The letter asks the FTC whether it treats hardware identifiers, which cannot be reset by users, as personally identifiable data for the purpose of its privacy enforcement duties.
It also presses the agency on what it can do to preempt similar deceptive practices in the future.