FTC Staff Releases Report on Cross-Device Tracking (Alston & Bird)


The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently released its staff report on Cross-Device Tracking.

Cross-device tracking refers to the tracking of consumer activity across multiple devices such as smartphones, desktops, tablets and other connected devices. It helps companies understand consumer behavior better. The tracking can be deterministic (where a user logs into multiple devices affirmatively identifying the device as his/hers) or probabilistic (companies infer cross-device activity using factors like common IP address). Benefits include account security, fraud detection, targeted advertising and a seamless online experience.

While there are benefits, the report identifies challenges in protecting consumer privacy and offers recommendations to address them. The key areas of focus in the report are transparency, choice, heightened protections for sensitive data and reasonable security.