Singapore-based mobile ad company InMobi has agreed to pay $950k and implement a rigorous internal privacy program to settle US Federal Trade Commission charges of large scale unauthorised location tracking, for ad targeting purposes.
The FTC alleged that InMobi tracked the locations of hundreds of millions of consumers, including children, without their knowledge or consent, mispresenting its policy as opt-in only. The complaint said the firm actually tracked locations whether or not the apps using its software asked for consumers' permission, and even when they had specifically opted out of location tracking. In addition, specifically in violation of the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), such information was collected from apps clearly aimed at children, despite promising not to do so and without the consent of parents or guardians.
The settlement imposes a $4m civil penalty, suspended to $950,000 based on the company's 'financial condition'. InMobi must also delete all the data collected from children, all the location information collected without consent, and must bring in a comprehensive privacy program subject to an independent audit every two years for the next twenty years.
Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection, said of the case: 'InMobi tracked the locations of hundreds of millions of consumers, including children, without their consent, in many cases totally ignoring consumers' express privacy preferences. This settlement ensures that InMobi will honor consumers' privacy choices in the future, and will be held accountable for keeping their privacy promises'.
All articles 2006-20 written and edited by Mel Crowther and/or Nick Thomas unless otherwise stated.