Maker of geodata-leaking Brightest Flashlight app moves unscathed through the FTC

Maker of geodata-leaking Brightest Flashlight app moves unscathed through the FTC

Remember "Brightest Flashlight"?It's the free flashlight app that wasn't really the brightest, butnevertheless, it ended up on 50 million Android users' smartphonesand covertly leaked their real-time locations to its maker, whichwent on to sell the data to advertisers. Bad stuff! Of course, theFederal Trade Commission intervened, but the app's maker, on-mancompany GoldenShores Technologies, is getting away with rather laxtreatment considering the sheer scale of its mischief.

Basically, GolenShores owner Erik Geidlis asked not to collect geolocation data without explanation, made tokeep records for the FTC, and obliged to inform the agency about anynew businesses he might start in the next 10 years. He will also haveto erase all collected data from the aforementioned app. And, aftersaying "sorry", he will be free to play with the otherchildren again.

Most questionably, the FTC won't befining Geidl on the ground that his app is free. But the agencyhasn't acknowledged that he may have profited from the user data heobtained illegally, nor taken action against the advertisers who mayhave bought it. Of course, it could turn out that Geidl didn't manageto sell any of the data, but this doesn't seem especially plausible.More likely than anything, the man hired a very competent lawyer.

via GigaOm



4. Augustine

Posts: 1043; Member since: Sep 28, 2013

The data was obtained almost dishonestly, not illegally. Every freaking one who installed this app, was told that this flashlight app got the precise location and the phone ID before allowing its installation. I have no sympathy for the 50 million people who blindly consented to installing this app with such suspicious permissions. Then again, Phone Arena itself promoted the FCC and the TSA apps though they request permission to get the precise location, full network access, access to system files, running apps and accounts. These apps are even more dishonest and sinister than Geidl's, for the government behind them is known for targeting political opposition and maintaining a secret assassination list.

2. AliNSiddiqui

Posts: 382; Member since: Sep 19, 2012

This is user fault if user is allowing permissions for a flashlight app to do such a thing.

1. express77 unregistered

collecting user data should not be allowed, appops should return and collecting user data through cookies and ad tracking should be banned.

3. sprockkets

Posts: 1612; Member since: Jan 16, 2012

appops doesn't work. If you set it to block stuff it doesn't give null data so the apps screw up and freeze. If you don't want tracking via cookies on google's ad network simply turn it off on google settings. You'll still have ads but not personalized ones.

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