We’ve spent a lot of time over the past few months covering spying techniques from the NSA, GCHQ, and CIA, but never did we expect one of the largest privacy cases this side of the decade to come from a little old innocuous flashlight app on the Google Play store.
That’s right; the “Brightest Flashlight” app has officially come under fire for trading sensitive user data, namely location and IP address information, with advertisers, hackers, and anyone who was willing to pay top dollar for the GPS coordinates of millions of mapped consumers.
Goldenshore Technologies, a developer responsible for shilling out other copycat apps such as flashlights and “color finders”, has been summoned to an FTC hearing regarding it’s Brightest Flashlight application. One which is supposedly responsible for dropping millions of data points into the hands of less-than-reputable sources who aimed to use the info to get a better idea of where people where using the app, and the circumstances surrounding the requirement to fire it up in the first place.
They settled in court with the FTC on Thursday to spur a change in the “Terms of Usage” section of their legal agreement.
“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,” said FTC consumer protection bureau director Jessica Rich. “But this flashlight app left them in the dark about how their information was going to be used.”
Sources report the app has been installed on tens of millions of Android devices, and if you’ve got it on any of your Google-based mobile devices, we advise deleting it immediately. To avoid these sorts of issues from popping up in the first place, you can always depend on mobile VPN solutions like IPVanish VPN. Built from the ground up to accommodate iOS 7 and the new aesthetic of Apple phones and tablets, the IPVanish app was designed to provide the safest, most reliable service possible all while showcasing users with a vast selection of available IP addresses and international servers to choose from.
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