Senators Chris Coons (D-DE) and Josh Hawley (R-MO) have sent a letter to Facebook raising concerns over Facebook’s location tracking of its users.
The Hill reports that Sen. Chris Coons and Sen. Josh Hawley have sent a letter to Facebook raising concerns that the company is continuing to track users who have already asked the firm to stop tracking their location. The letter from Coons and Hawley comes shortly after Facebook published a blog post in which it claims that it will stop tracking users’ location data when they choose that option on the latest Apple and Google software updates.
Coons and Hawley worry that Facebook will not honor this promise to stop tracking user location data, writing in their letter to the firm: “If a user has decided to limit Facebook’s access to his or her location, Facebook should respect these privacy choices. The language in the blog post, however, indicates that Facebook may continue to collect location data despite user preferences, even if the user is not engaging with the app, and Facebook is simply deducing the user’s location from information about his or her internet connection.”
Mobile operating systems Android 10 and iOS 13 offer users greater control over the information that apps collect, Facebook promised to listen to these user preferences but noted in its blog post that the Facebook app “may still understand your location using things like check-ins, events and information about your internet connection.”
Coons and Hawley wrote in their letter: “Given that most mobile devices are connected to the internet nearly all the time, whether through a cellular network or a Wi-Fi connection, this practice would allow Facebook to collect user location data almost constantly, irrespective of the user’s privacy preferences.”
Coons is the co-leader of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s tech task force and Hawley is a prominent critic of big tech firms; both Senators sit on the Senate Judiciary Committee. In their letter, the Senators asked if Facebook plans to continue to track location data regardless of users’ stated preferences, how much information the company gathers from a user’s internet connection, and whether location information will be used for targeted advertisements.