Stock illustration: City marked up with tech connectivity points. Credit: peshkova/Adobe Stock

Companies that collect and process data containing precise geographic locations of customers via their mobile devices are grappling with a new compliance nightmare as emerging state privacy laws consider such data to be "sensitive personal information."

The privacy laws enacted or under debate in at least a dozen states portend potential penalties—up to $7,500 per intentional violation in California—in addition to other regulatory actions and class action suits. These threaten to kneecap the $69 billion location-based advertising market and other users of this data.

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