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FTC settles app privacy case without fine


Steve Costello

by

The US Federal Trade Commission has given the green light to a settlement with the developer of a utility app accused of privacy breaches which did not include a fine.

The watchdog said that the flashlight app, developed by Goldenshores which is owned by Erik Geidl, “deceived customers with a privacy policy that did not reflect the app’s use of personal data and presented consumers with a false choice on whether to share their information”.

GigaOM argued that the app, which was installed by “at least 50 million Android users”, was actually “a stalking device disguised as a flashlight”.

It noted that while the FTC did not impose a financial punishment because the app was free to download, “it doesn’t acknowledge that Geidl must have earned income by selling user’s geolocation”.

The settlement, first announced in December 2013, prohibits Goldenshores and owner Geidl, from “misrepresenting how consumers’ information is collected and shared and how much control consumers have over the way their information is used”.

It also requires the defendants provide a “just-in-time” disclosure that fully informs consumers when, how and why geolocation data is being collected, used and shared, and requires defendants to obtain consumers’ affirmative express consent before doing so.

And information collected from the Brightest Flashlight app must be deleted.

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