Meta, the parent company of Facebook,, has agreed to pay US$37.5 million to settle a lawsuit alleging the social media platform violated users’ privacy by tracking their movements without permission.
According to the Reuters news agency, the proposed settlement was filed in a San Francisco court on Monday. The proposal still has to be approved by a judge.
The lawsuit was filed in 2018. Reuters says Meta has denied wrongdoing in agreeing to settle.
The U.S. Congress is thinking about taking action on the sale of location data. In June Senator Elizabeth Warren introduced a bill to ban data brokers from selling location and health information captured from American residents.
The proposed Health and Location Data Protection Act “forbids data brokers from selling or transferring location data and health data and requires the Federal Trade Commission to promulgate rules to implement the law within 180 days, while making exceptions for HIPAA-compliant activities, protected First Amendment speech, and validly authorized disclosures.”
The law will allow the FTC, state attorneys general and anyone affected by location and health data sales to file lawsuits seeking financial damages and injunctions. The proposal will also give the FTC an extra $1 billion funding.
Privacy and data protection laws have had a hard ride in Congress, with most Representatives and Senators preferring to leave it to individual states to craft privacy laws. One promising sign took place in July when the House Committee on Energy and Commerce voted 53-2 to advance the American Data Privacy and Protection Act to full House consideration. However, there are still lots of potential obstacles before it. Assuming the House passes the law it will have to be passed by the Senate.