Admits Users Accessed Data for Planned Parenthood Clinics

While we are on the subject of data marketplaces, here is Joseph Cox, of Vice:, a location data firm that Motherboard previously revealed was providing heatmaps of approximately where abortion clinic visitors live, has admitted that people have obtained data related to these visits in the past.

A different location data company, INRIX, offers census block-level aggregate statistics of Planned Parenthood visitors. But it is kind of irrelevant what individual data brokers are offering and the limitations they place on themselves because the value of this stuff is in the aggregate and users have little individual control. As an example, one data platform, Narrative, boasts connections to seventeen different location providers claiming two billion mobile identifiers. “Always present” in this data set are the latitude and longitude, timestamp, and device identifier. In May, it removed data on its platform collected from some health-related apps, but it relies on platform users following its terms and conditions.

Narrative is just one example of a massive and insidious industry relying on a lack of knowledge among users and failure to regulate.