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Privacy Android Government Software

FTC Drops the Hammer On Maker of Location-Sharing Flashlight App 187

Posted by Soulskill
from the permissions-permissions-permissions dept.
chicksdaddy writes "The Federal Trade Commission announced on Thursday that it settled with the maker of 'Brightest Flashlight Free,' a popular Android mobile application, over charges that the company used deceptive advertising to collect location and device information from Android owners. The FTC says the company failed to disclose wanton harvesting and sharing of customers' locations and mobile device identities with third parties. Brightest Flashlight Free, which allows Android owners to use their phone as a flashlight, is a top download from Google Play, the main Android marketplace. Statistics from the site indicate that it has been downloaded more than one million times with an overall rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars. The application, which is available for free, displays mobile advertisements on the devices it is installed on. However, the device also harvested a wide range of data from Android phones which was shared with advertisers, including what the FTC describes as 'precise geolocation along with persistent device identifiers.' As part of the settlement with the FTC, Goldenshores is ordered to change its advertisements and in-app disclosures to make explicit any collection of geolocation information, how it is or may be used, the reason for collecting location information and which third parties that data is shared with."
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FTC Drops the Hammer On Maker of Location-Sharing Flashlight App

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  • Re:Security model (Score:5, Informative)

    by MachineShedFred (621896) on Friday December 06, 2013 @11:32AM (#45618825) Journal

    On iOS, you do have granular permissions - if an app requests your location, you can say no, and the app can go fuck itself - the API doesn't give it shit. It's not all-or-nothing.

    Disabling data access per app is a different story though, so your point still stands.

  • Re:Some Hammer (Score:2, Informative)

    by denis-The-menace (471988) on Friday December 06, 2013 @12:06PM (#45619123)

    That's because they are a corporation.

    A corporation under US law is a "Person" that is superior to humans and thus cannot be faulted for anything.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 06, 2013 @12:20PM (#45619293)

    Oh you have a Nexus 7? Perfect, you can download App Ops to select permissions on a per-app basis.

    Any Android 4.3 or higher device supports it. And root is not required.

  • Simple LED Widget (Score:4, Informative)

    by slinches (1540051) on Friday December 06, 2013 @12:59PM (#45619687)

    I just recently got a Nexus 5 to replace my aging Nokia N9 and was amazed by the near complete lack of simple tools that don't want access to your data in return. For the N9, there were a ton of useful free open source tools provided by the community over at maemo.org [maemo.org]. That community was great. Every time I thought that there was something that was missing or new capability I wanted, I'd look there and find an app that already exists or a group of people in the process of building it.

    The contrast between that experience and the excessive commercialism of Android was startling. After looking around for a while I did find this Simple LED Widget [google.com] that is just what it says and doesn't require any unnecessary permissions, but I had to sift through dozens of apps like the one in the TFA.

    Is there anything even close to maemo.org for Android? I've heard some good things about F-Droid [f-droid.org], but I haven't looked into it enough yet to know if it's the best option.

  • by iamhassi (659463) on Friday December 06, 2013 @01:09PM (#45619761) Journal
    iPhone doesn't need it since every app has to be approved by Apple themselves before hitting the appstore and iOS doesn't allow access to contacts or locations without a large popup saying "do you want this app to access (blank)?" Which you can turn off anytime in settings. There are some advantages to a walled garden

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