The state of New York enacted a geofencing ban earlier this month, as part of its larger budget bill. The ban, which takes effect on July 2, is intended to protect individuals who enter healthcare facilities from being targeted by third-party organizations with digital ads on their mobile devices. The bill defines geofencing as establishing “a virtual boundary of (1,185 feet) radius or less…around a particular location that allows a digital advertiser to track the location of an individual user and electronically deliver targeted digital advertisements directly to such user's mobile device upon such user's entry into the geofenced area.”
The ban is similar to one that was passed in Washington State earlier this year as part of its “My Health My Data Act,” with the exception that the New York bill allows healthcare organizations to geofence their own locations. The New York law also does not include new requirements around the handling of consumer health data like the Washington law does. These geofencing bans, largely in response to last year’s U.S. Supreme Court Dobbs decision, help protect people who are receiving reproductive healthcare services from being harassed by outside entities (e.g. individuals receiving mobile ads encouraging them not to have abortions.