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Trump campaign changes website privacy policy after inquiries

Newly redesigned campaign site nixes language about using beacons to collect visitors' location data after CBS asks how the data would be used.

Trump campaign revises privacy policy after questions arise over use of visitors' location data.
CBS News

The newly redesigned website for President Donald Trump's 2020 presidential campaign made an about-face on its privacy policy Wednesday after questions arose about its collection of data on users' locations.

The new website, which launched Tuesday morning, promised "to provide, unique, behind the scenes view," according to a Trump campaign press release. But tucked away in the website was a new privacy policy detailing the range of user data it would collect, CBS News reported Wednesday. (Disclosure: CBS is the parent company of CNET.)

"We may also collect other information based on your location and your device's proximity to 'beacons' and other similar proximity systems, including, for example, the strength of the signal between the beacon and your device and the duration that your device is near the beacon," read the site's privacy policy at the time.

The term beacons refers to technology that lets Bluetooth-enabled devices periodically broadcast data. Bluetooth beacons are often used to help your phone figure out where you are in the mall or let an advertisement at the bus stop send you a website. But privacy advocates worry the technology can be used to identify individuals and track their movements.

It wasn't clear how the campaign intended to use the beacon data collected, especially since no other major campaign sites include language referring to the devices. But hours after CBS News contacted the campaign about how it intended to use the data, language referring to the devices was removed from the site.

The White House didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

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