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Popular Android flashlight app was secretly sending information about you to advertisers

Written by Andre Yoskowitz (Google+) @ 06 Dec 2013 10:31 User comments (7)

Popular Android flashlight app was secretly sending information about you to advertisers One of the most popular apps in the Google Play Store, "Brightest Flashlight," which has been downloaded over 50 million times and reviewed over 1 million times, has been sanctioned by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission for sneakily selling your personal information to advertisers.
The app, built by Goldenshore, sent your location and a unique ID to advertisers who could then better target their marketing. Users were aware of this, but opting out did not change whether data was sent or not. The developer has agreed to pay a fine to the US Federal Trade Commission after the application "left [consumers] in the dark about how their information was going to be used," adds Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection.

Rich says the app maker "deceptively failed to disclose" that it would use user data even after users opted out via the app's settings page. The app still shared the data automatically, making the privacy options completely pointless.

As part of their FTC settlement, Goldenshore must delete all personal information it has gathered, redraft their privacy policy, and make sure that the option for users to opt in or out is actually real. If Goldenshore fails to do so, they will be hit with a $16,000 fine for every violation. At 50 million users, that number could be gigantic.

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7 user comments

16.12.2013 10:58

And consumers affected will get $0

26.12.2013 12:29

I really wish that if these fucking leech companies wanted to know something about me or my habits so badly, they would pay me for that information, instead of installing spyware on my phone. LOL this whole shit is bass-ackwards.


SuckRaven

36.12.2013 20:14

Originally posted by SuckRaven:
I really wish that if these fucking leech companies wanted to know something about me or my habits so badly, they would pay me for that information, instead of installing spyware on my phone. LOL this whole shit is bass-ackwards.
Then I assume you do not have a Facebook account...

46.12.2013 23:02

I do, but it's been on autopilot since the day I signed up. I have not uploaded a single piece of content. Everything that is there has been uploaded by others, with or without my permission. Probably not a hugely accurate depiction of "me" in any sense. Nor do I imagine it is of anyone, unless they go out of their way to be exceedingly "authentic" online.

In retrospect, I should probably just close the damn thing, and then send FB an actual paper letter requesting they wipe all of the content from their servers.


SuckRaven

514.12.2013 0:23

So glad I went with a Blackberry. You don't get this shit happening on BB10.

615.12.2013 18:37

This is really no surprise. With the monetization of data, by both legitimate and "not so legitimate" entities, companies are seeing their cash cow on the horizon, and are trying their damndest to lure that cow into their pasture. Unfortunately, the companies are disconnected in that they fail to see, either willfully or neglectfully, that at the end of those data points are real human beings. And some of those human beings may not want to share their purchase of pink, fuzzy slippers.

715.12.2013 19:07

Originally posted by Mysttic:
And consumers affected will get $0
Exactly and the damage is done for those 50 million people already so a little like closing the barn door after the horse escapes. They should have to pay $1 to every person with the app, while that's peanuts to the consumer, it's 50 mil for the two-faced developer. Definitely make others think twice before using the same tactics.

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