Free Flashlight App busted by the FTC for Sharing your Data

Flashlight Apps are a dime a dozen on Google Play and chances are you’ve installed a few as they are beyond handy to have on your smartphone. Malware and unscrupulous developers are also numerous on the Play Store, and the latter has come into the spotlight today as the FTC has discovered a Flashlight App that’s taking your private information passing it along to a third party.

The app and developer you’ll want to avoid at all costs goes by the name of “Brightest Flashlight Free” from GoldenShores Technology. The app has been downloaded a staggering 50,000,000 – 100,000,000 times and currently has a 4.8 rating on the Play Store. You can expect that to drop a bit after today. So what was the shade slinging developer doing with your info? The app took users locations along with their unique device ID and passed it along to advertisers. The app had the right to access that info due to its permissions, but it did not have the right to sell it or share it with any third parties.

When this is a developers "screenshot" of the app it's generally not a good sign
When this is a developers “screenshot” of the app it’s generally not a good sign

You may be thinking… “If it has shifty permissions, just don’t download it” which is good advice normally, but a moot point with the Brightest Flashlight Free App. Usually if you see suspect permissions on an install and back out that’s the end of things, but GoldenShores rigged things to where you’re data went out before you could even click accept or refuse. Definitely not cool.

GoldenShores owner, Erik Geidl, has agreed to a settlement with the FTC that calls for them to delete any personal information the app has collected, and it requires them to tell users how their data will be shared while getting their express permission to do so. He will also be required to inform the FTC if he changes his employment any time in the next 10 years. Can you say slap on the wrist? Regardless of the outcome, it’s nice to see the FTC taking notice of things in the mobile world as there are a lot of shifty developers out there.

Via – USA Today


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