Android developer GoldenShores Technologies has been charged by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for building a flashlight app that secretly shares user location data with advertisers.
The Brightest Flashlight app automatically sends out location data to third parties after being downloaded for free from the Google Play store, where it’s had more than 50 million free downloads.
According to the FTC consumers were deceived by the option to turn off the location-sharing option, since the app begins sharing your data as soon as you’ve downloaded it.
The company is being forced to delete all of the data it has collected as part of an agreed-to settlement with the FTC, and must give users control over the location-sharing feature without misleading them.
“When consumers are given a real, informed choice, they can decide for themselves whether the benefit of a service is worth the information they must share to use it,” FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection Director Jessica Rich said in The Verge. “But this flashlight app left them in the dark about how their information was going to be used.”