Tag Archives: Apps

FTC Seeks Comment on Petition to Modify 2009 Sears Order Concerning Online Browsing Tracking

The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) is soliciting public comments on a petition filed by Sears Holdings Management (“Sears”) to reopen and modify a 2009 FTC order regarding the tracking of personal information on their software apps.  The petition is notable for a number of reasons.  First, the Sears consent order was a seminal order in … Continue Reading

Carnegie Mellon Grades Privacy of Android Apps

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have designed a website that doles out grades to Android apps based on their privacy practices. The website, privacygrade.org, assigns grades based on a model that measures the gap between people’s expectations of an app’s behavior and how the app actually behaves. The grades range from A+, representing no privacy … Continue Reading

Global App Review Finds 85% of Apps Have Privacy Shortcomings

By Monika Kuschewsky and Katherine Gasztonyi In May 2014, the Global Privacy Enforcement Network (“GPEN”) performed its second Global Privacy Sweep, in which 26 privacy enforcement authorities from 19 countries downloaded 1,211 mobile apps and assessed their privacy practices. On September 10, 2014, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (“OPC”) published the results of the … Continue Reading

Google to Refund Consumers at Least $19 Million to Settle FTC Complaint It Unlawfully Billed Parents for Children’s Unauthorized In-App Charges

The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) announced on Thursday, September 4 that Google has agreed to settle charges and refund no less than $19 million to consumers whose children were allegedly deceived into making mobile purchases through the Android app store. Google offers thousands of apps for free or a specific dollar amount through its Google … Continue Reading

FTC Sues Amazon Over Allegedly Unauthorized In-App Purchases

By: Nora Diamond The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) brought suit last week against Amazon.com for allegedly collecting unauthorized in-app charges in connection with children’s apps. The FTC alleges that, by failing to require the account holder to enter a password before allowing a charge, Amazon unfairly billed parents for millions of dollars in unauthorized purchases. … Continue Reading

Senate Subcommittee Examines “Stalking Apps” Bill

This week, the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law held a hearing to discuss the Location Privacy Protection Act of 2014, a bill reintroduced in March by Senator Al Franken (D-MN).  Most concerned with the potential for misuse and abuse of location data for purposes of stalking and perpetrating domestic violence, Senator … Continue Reading

Senate Judiciary Subcommittee To Examine “Stalking Apps”

Tomorrow, the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law will hold a hearing on legislation reintroduced in March by Senator Al Franken (D-MN), the Location Privacy Protection Act of 2014.  The bill would regulate the development, operation, and sale of “stalking apps” and also would require companies to get consumer permission before collecting … Continue Reading

FTC Announces Settlements with Two Mobile App Providers

Today, the Federal Trade Commission announced settlements with two mobile app makers that allegedly failed to provide reasonable security for the personal information collected in connection with their apps.  In complaints against Credit Karma, Inc. and Fandango LLC, the FTC alleged that both companies’ apps failed to validate SSL certificates, a security shortcoming that could … Continue Reading

FTC Announces $32.5M Settlement with Apple, Inc., May Be Seen as Expanding its “Unfairness” Authority

The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) recently announced a settlement with Apple, Inc. over allegations that the company billed parents and other account holders for children’s in-app activities without obtaining the account holders’ express and informed consent. The FTC’s complaint alleged that Apple’s failure to obtain express and informed consent prior to each in-app purchase constituted … Continue Reading

FTC Settles Charges Against Flashlight App Maker

Yesterday, the FTC announced a settlement with Goldenshores Technologies, a company that makes the most-downloaded flashlight app on the Android platform.  The FTC alleged that Goldenshores violated Section 5 of the FTC Act by failing to disclose to consumers that it shared location data it collected from users’ device with third parties.  Although a list … Continue Reading

EU Data Protection Working Party Sets Out App Privacy Recommendations

By Dan Cooper and Philippe Bradley This week the Article 29 Working Party released its Opinion 2/2013 on apps on smart devices (WP 202), a 30-page report on mobile app privacy and data protection considerations. This development follows on the Working Party’s Statement on the draft General Data Protection Regulation on 27 February 2013 (which … Continue Reading

FTC Releases Mobile App Privacy Guidelines

As state and federal regulators increasingly focus on mobile apps, the Federal Trade Commission today released detailed recommendations for mobile privacy. In a 29-page staff report, the FTC suggests how mobile app platforms and developers should notify consumers of their privacy practices.  Although the guidelines are not binding law, they offer best practices that could … Continue Reading

Judge Dismisses Putative Class Action Against “Who’s-Who of Social Media Companies”

A court in Texas recently dismissed a lawsuit it described as “an aspiring class action against a veritable who’s-who of social media companies.”  The Plaintiffs in Opperman v. Path claimed that the Defendants improperly used their smartphone apps to copy, upload, and store Plaintiffs’ address book information without their consent. According to the court, the Plaintiffs’ … Continue Reading

Study Finds Top Mobile Apps More Transparent About Privacy Practices

According to a recent study released by the Future of Privacy Forum (FPF), the number of mobile apps with privacy policies has grown rapidly since September 2011. The study examined the top 25 free and 25 paid apps in the Apple iOS, Google Play, and Kindle Fire app stores, for a total of 150 apps.  Of the apps reviewed, the study found … Continue Reading

New Jersey AG Settles COPPA Suit Against Mobile App Developer

The New Jersey Attorney General and Division of Consumer Affairs have announced a settlement with 24x7digital, the developer of the “TeachMe” mobile apps for preschool through second-grade children, to resolve claims that the company violated the federal Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”).    The state alleged that children were encouraged to submit their full names, along with a photograph, … Continue Reading

European Mobile Operators Agree to App Privacy Guidelines

This week, the U.K.-based GSM Association unveiled voluntary app privacy guidelines, which are being implemented by several major European mobile telephone service operators for their own branded applications.  According to the GSM Association, the companies adopting these guidelines includes Deutsche Telekom, France Telecom – Orange, Telecom Italia, Telefónica, and Vodafone.  This development  follows last week’s announcement of an agreement by Amazon, Apple, Google, Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft, … Continue Reading

Mobile Platforms Agree to Require Apps to Display Privacy Policies

Yesterday California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris announced an agreement she forged among Amazon, Apple, Google, Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft, and Research in Motion to ensure that mobile device apps that collect personal information contain privacy policies.  The agreement is designed to ensure that mobile apps comply with the California Online Privacy Protection Act, which requires operators of commercial … Continue Reading

Apple Sued Again For Alleged Privacy Violations

For the fourth time in the past two months, Apple has been sued for allegedly violating the privacy of iPad and iPhone users.  Like the previous three suits (two of which we discussed in this post), Rodimer v. Apple, Inc. [PDF] alleges that Apple transmitted “personal information,” including Unique Device IDs (“UDIDs”) to application developers, who, in … Continue Reading

CFAA and Wiretap Act Claims Filed Against Apple and App Developers

Last week, iPhone and iPad App users filed two separate class action complaints against Apple and iOS App developers in the Northern District of California.  (The complaints are currently captioned Freeman v. Apple, Inc. and Lalo v. Apple, Inc.)  In both, the plaintiffs charge the defendant App developers with accessing and sharing personal information, including … Continue Reading
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