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As lawmakers contemplate privacy laws, expert gives tips to limit how companies track you

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Posted at 1:48 PM, Sep 07, 2022

Companies collect a lot of data about us from our fitness trackers to smart devices in your home.

You may not even know that it's sometimes happening.

Federal regulators are considering new rules to crack down on companies collecting and profiting from information about you.

The Federal Trade Commission wants to hear from you about how this is impacting you.

“One of the biggest changes I think that is potentially on the horizon are some more limits on what companies can actually do, what they can collect and what they can do with it,” said Jennifer King, a privacy and data policy fellow at Stanford University. “Rather than just saying we got your permission, so you know we can now, we can do whatever we want.”

She said one real challenge if the FTC decides to go through with new rules is that the process takes so long, it could take 5 years before we actually see them in action.

She said action by Congress would be much faster. Lawmakers are currently considering a privacy bill to reduce data collected about us.

Until any action happens, there are ways you can reduce that collection.

“I think the mobile space is one of those areas that a little hygiene can go a long way, and one of the things I do is I turn off my location services on my phone,” King said. “That doesn't stop everything, but it does actually kind of cut off a lot of data that's happening, often in the background.”

She said also consider the apps you're installing on your phone and what types of places you're willing to give your information.