The FTC announced the settlement with Goldenshores Technologies, LLC of Moscow, Indiana, makers of the “Brightest Flashlight Free” Android application, saying that the company failed to disclose wanton harvesting and sharing of customers’ location and mobile device identity 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. (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=goldenshorestechnologies.brightestflashlight.free) 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 that 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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