Protecting Location Privacy: Creating an Ethical Data Landscape

How Foursquare helps businesses leverage location data without compromising user privacy


With more businesses turning to technology, and specifically data-driven location technology, to drive results, it has become more important than ever to ensure data is being collected and used in a manner that is both ethical and with consumer consent.

An obligation to restrict sensitive data use
Foursquare implements stringent safeguards to ensure data privacy, particularly when it comes to the privacy of sensitive communities. In order to ensure that all consumers are protected from harmful practices, we filter out visits to sensitive locations such as religious centers, women’s shelters, military locations, LGBTQ centers, among others.

We have a restricted places policy, where we do not provide audience segments for locations where children under the age of 18 may frequent. We also contractually prohibit our third party data providers from sending us data from users known to be under the age of 16.

Foursquare’s robust Privacy Center, available on our website, is also a key privacy resource that clearly outlines our stance, current policies and continuous steps we’re taking to further our efforts. It’s continually updated to keep up with the changing landscape and provides simplified instructions for exercising privacy rights.

Safe data collaboration
We use clear and direct opt-in language in our owned and operated apps. Companies that seek to use our location technology must first demonstrate how Foursquare’s technology is essential to offer benefits and provide value to consumers and they will only collect data where required notices have been provided and consent has been obtained. This ensures that the data is solely being used for the right reasons.

Data privacy now and in the future
The data landscape is always evolving, bringing new challenges and changing needs. We are more than prepared to innovate and expand upon current practices to keep consumers, our customers and partners safe. That’s why we have joined the IAPP, the world’s largest and most comprehensive privacy resource, to stay up to date with the latest developments in privacy. We are also members of the DAA and NAI, and have voluntarily implemented their codes of conduct. We are actively engaged in these organizations and support ongoing efforts to increase transparency, consumer understanding and consumer choice in digital advertising.

Privacy is a key component of the Foursquare mission. Without it, we wouldn’t be able to work towards our larger goal of helping more businesses leverage and benefit from the power of location data.

Consumers must be in control
Foursquare puts privacy first, remaining a vocal advocate for comprehensive federal privacy legislation to protect consumers from unethical, unfair or opaque practices. Handling consumer data is a privilege – and it is one that we don’t take lightly. We lead with transparency and prioritize privacy throughout the entire data lifecycle. Consumers are made aware that they can choose whether or not to share data with us, and that they always have the right to access, delete, and opt out of the sales of their data.

Have questions about Foursquare’s data practices and policies? Visit our Privacy Center for more information.

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