Case study: FTC v. Goldenshores and Geidl

Key point:

Apps must provide just-in-time notice and affirmative consent is required before collecting geolocation information

In 2013, the FTC pursued an enforcement action against Goldenshores and Geidl alleging that Goldenshores’ ‘Brightest Flash-ling Free’ app shared users data with third parties without their consent. According to the FTC’s complaint, the company created a popular flashlight app for Android devices that the FTC charged deceived consumers with a privacy policy that did not reflect the app’s use of personal data and presented consumers with a false choice on whether to share their information.

The settlement approved on March 2014:

  • prohibited misrepresenting how consumers’ information is collected and shared and how much control consumers have over the way their information is used.
  • required to provide a just-in-time disclosure that fully informs consumers when, how, and why their geolocation information is being collected, used and shared, and requires them to obtain consumers’ affirmative express consent before doing so.
  • required to delete any personal information collected from consumers through the Brightest Flashlight app.

Goldenshores was not required to pay any monetary penalty.

NOTE: Even if the collection and use of precise geolocation information were expected based on the app functionality (e.g. mobile app design to locate restaurants) just-in-time notice and affirmative consent would be required by the FTC because geolocation information is considered sensitive information.

Resources

In the Matter of Goldenshores Technologies, LLC, and Erik M. Geidl FTC Matter/File Number: 132 3087

Best practices and guidelines for Location-Based services (CTIA) (adopted by the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA) to promote and protect user privacy as Location-Based Services (“LBS”) are developed and deployed that focus on notice, consent, and safeguards).

Lydia F de la Torre

Written by

Teacher. Counsel. Author. Queen bee.

Golden Data

Legal blog about data laws

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