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FTC Sues Data Broker Over Selling Location Data for Hundreds of Millions of Phones

FTC Sues Data Broker Over Selling Location Data for Hundreds of Millions of Phones

August 30, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on Monday said it filed a lawsuit against Kochava, a location data broker, for collecting and selling precise geolocation data gathered from consumers' mobile devices. The complaint alleges that the U.S. company  amasses  a "wealth of information" about users by purchasing data from other data brokers to sell to its own clients. "Kochava then sells customized data feeds to its clients to, among other purposes, assist in advertising and analyzing foot traffic at stores or other locations," the FTC  said . "Among other categories, Kochava sells timestamped latitude and longitude coordinates showing the location of mobile devices." The Idaho-based company advertises itself as a "real-time data solutions company" and the "largest independent data marketplace for connected devices." It also claims its  Kochava Collective  data marketplace provides "premium data feeds, audience targeting, a
U.S. FTC Vows to Crack Down on illegal Use and Sharing of Citizens' Sensitive Data

U.S. FTC Vows to Crack Down on illegal Use and Sharing of Citizens' Sensitive Data

July 13, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) warned this week that it will crack down on tech companies' illegal use and sharing of highly sensitive data and false claims about data anonymization. "While many consumers may happily offer their location data in exchange for real-time crowd-sourced advice on the fastest route home, they likely think differently about having their thinly-disguised online identity associated with the frequency of their visits to a therapist or cancer doctor," FTC's Kristin Cohen  said . The sensitive nature of information about users' health and their precise whereabouts has prompted the agency to caution against opaque practices in the "shadowy ad tech and  data broker ecosystem ," with consumers having little to no knowledge of how their personal data is harvested, used, and processed. This lack of awareness is compounded by the fact that mobile apps embed privacy-invasive software development kits (SDKs) that surreptitious
Twitter Fined $150 Million for Misusing Users' Data for Advertising Without Consent

Twitter Fined $150 Million for Misusing Users' Data for Advertising Without Consent

May 26, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
Twitter, which is in the process of being acquired by Tesla CEO Elon Musk, has agreed to pay $150 million to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to settle allegations that it abused non-public information collected for security purposes to serve targeted ads. In addition to the monetary penalty for "misrepresenting its privacy and security practices," the company has been banned from profiting from the deceptively collected data and ordered to notify all affected users. "Twitter obtained data from users on the pretext of harnessing it for security purposes but then ended up also using the data to target users with ads," FTC Chair Lina M. Khan  said  in a statement. "This practice affected more than 140 million Twitter users, while boosting Twitter's primary source of revenue." According to a  complaint  filed by the U.S. Justice Department, Twitter in May 2013 began enforcing a requirement for users to provide either a phone number or email ad
Facebook Agrees to Pay $5 Billion Fine and Setup New Privacy Program for 20 Years

Facebook Agrees to Pay $5 Billion Fine and Setup New Privacy Program for 20 Years

July 24, 2019Mohit Kumar
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) today officially confirmed that Facebook has agreed to pay a record-breaking $5 billion fine over privacy violations surrounding the Cambridge Analytica scandal . Besides the multibillion-dollar penalty, the company has also accepted a 20-year-long agreement that enforces it to implement a new organizational framework designed to strengthen its data privacy practices and policies. The agreement requires Facebook to make some major structural changes, as explained below, that will hold the company accountable for the decisions it makes about its users' privacy and information it collects on them. "The order requires Facebook to restructure its approach to privacy from the corporate board-level down, and establishes strong new mechanisms to ensure that Facebook executives are accountable for the decisions they make about privacy and that those decisions are subject to meaningful oversight," the FTC said in a press release . Ac
D-Link Agrees to 10 Years of Security Audits to Settle FTC Charges

D-Link Agrees to 10 Years of Security Audits to Settle FTC Charges

July 03, 2019Swati Khandelwal
Taiwanese networking equipment manufacturer D-Link has agreed to implement a "comprehensive software security program" in order to settle a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) lawsuit alleging that the company didn't take adequate steps to protect its consumers from hackers. Your wireless router is the first line of defense against potential threats on the Internet. However, sadly, most widely-used routers fail to offer necessary security features and have often found vulnerable to serious security flaws, eventually enabling remote attackers to unauthorizedly access networks and compromise the security of other devices connected to it. In recent years, the security of wireless networks has been more of a hot topic due to cyber attacks, as well as has gained headlines after the discovery of critical vulnerabilities—such as authentication bypass , remote code execution , hard-coded login credentials , and information disclosure—in routers manufactured by various brands.
Smart TV Maker Fined $2.2 Million For Spying on Its 11 Million Users

Smart TV Maker Fined $2.2 Million For Spying on Its 11 Million Users

February 07, 2017Swati Khandelwal
Your government is spying on you! Businesses are spying on you! Your phone and browser are constantly spying on you! Even your TV is spying on you! Yes, you should also worry about your "smart" TV, as one of the world's biggest smart TV makers Vizio has been caught secretly collecting its consumers' data through over 11 Million smart TVs and then selling them to third-parties without the user's explicit consent. But the good news is that the home entertainment hardware maker has been fined heavily for this practice. The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced on Monday that Vizio had spied on almost every customer from its Vizio smart TVs through its Smart Interactivity feature, and rather than fighting back the accusation any longer, the company has agreed to pay a $2.2 Million fine to settle the lawsuit. "To settle the case, Vizio has agreed to stop unauthorized tracking, to prominently disclose its TV viewing collection practices, and to g
Privacy of Millions of HTC devices at risk

Privacy of Millions of HTC devices at risk

February 24, 2013Mohit Kumar
More than 18 million smartphones and other mobile devices made by HTC are at risk vulnerable to many security and privacy issue. The Federal Trade Commission charged HTC with customizing the software on its Android- and Windows based phones in ways that let third-party applications install software that could steal personal information. The vulnerabilities placed sensitive information about millions of consumers at risk and potentially permitted malicious applications to send text messages, record audio and install additional malware without a user's knowledge or consent.  FTC identify many vulnerabilities including, insecure implementation of two logging applications i.e Carrier IQ and HTC Loggers . The agency also found programming flaws that let third-party apps bypass Android's permission-based security model. Flaws in the security system could also give third-party apps access to phone numbers, contents of text messages, browsing history and information
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