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Notice

Goldenshores Technologies, LLC and Erik M. Geidl; Analysis of Proposed Consent Order To Aid Public Comment

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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AGENCY:

Federal Trade Commission.

ACTION:

Proposed consent agreement.

SUMMARY:

The consent agreement in this matter settles alleged violations of federal law prohibiting unfair or deceptive acts or practices or unfair methods of competition. The attached Analysis to Aid Public Comment describes both the allegations in the draft complaint and the terms of the consent order—embodied in the consent agreement—that would settle these allegations.

DATES:

Comments must be received on or before January 6, 2014.

ADDRESSES:

Interested parties may file a comment at https://ftcpublic.commentworks.com/​ftc/​goldenshorestechnologiesconsent online or on paper, by following the instructions in the Request for Comment part of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section below. Write “Goldenshores, File No. 132 3087” on your comment and file your comment online at https://ftcpublic.commentworks.com/​ftc/​goldenshorestechnologiesconsent by following the instructions on the web-based form. If you prefer to file your comment on paper, mail or deliver your comment to the following address: Federal Trade Commission, Office of the Secretary, Room H-113 (Annex D), 600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20580.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Kerry O'Brien (415-848-5189), FTC, Western Region, San Francisco, 600 Start Printed Page 75351Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20580.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Pursuant to Section 6(f) of the Federal Trade Commission Act, 15 U.S.C. 46(f), and FTC Rule 2.34, 16 CFR 2.34, notice is hereby given that the above-captioned consent agreement containing a consent order to cease and desist, having been filed with and accepted, subject to final approval, by the Commission, has been placed on the public record for a period of thirty (30) days. The following Analysis to Aid Public Comment describes the terms of the consent agreement, and the allegations in the complaint. An electronic copy of the full text of the consent agreement package can be obtained from the FTC Home Page (for December 5, 2013), on the World Wide Web, at http://www.ftc.gov/​os/​actions.shtm. A paper copy can be obtained from the FTC Public Reference Room, Room 130-H, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20580, either in person or by calling (202) 326-2222.

You can file a comment online or on paper. For the Commission to consider your comment, we must receive it on or before January 6, 2014. Write “Goldenshores, File No. 132 3087” on your comment. Your comment—including your name and your state—will be placed on the public record of this proceeding, including, to the extent practicable, on the public Commission Web site, at http://www.ftc.gov/​os/​publiccomments.shtm. As a matter of discretion, the Commission tries to remove individuals' home contact information from comments before placing them on the Commission Web site.

Because your comment will be made public, you are solely responsible for making sure that your comment does not include any sensitive personal information, like anyone's Social Security number, date of birth, driver's license number or other state identification number or foreign country equivalent, passport number, financial account number, or credit or debit card number. You are also solely responsible for making sure that your comment does not include any sensitive health information, like medical records or other individually identifiable health information. In addition, do not include any “[t]rade secret or any commercial or financial information which . . . is privileged or confidential,” as discussed in Section 6(f) of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C. 46(f), and FTC Rule 4.10(a)(2), 16 CFR 4.10(a)(2). In particular, do not include competitively sensitive information such as costs, sales statistics, inventories, formulas, patterns, devices, manufacturing processes, or customer names.

If you want the Commission to give your comment confidential treatment, you must file it in paper form, with a request for confidential treatment, and you have to follow the procedure explained in FTC Rule 4.9(c), 16 CFR 4.9(c).[1] Your comment will be kept confidential only if the FTC General Counsel, in his or her sole discretion, grants your request in accordance with the law and the public interest.

Postal mail addressed to the Commission is subject to delay due to heightened security screening. As a result, we encourage you to submit your comments online. To make sure that the Commission considers your online comment, you must file it at https://ftcpublic.commentworks.com/​ftc/​goldenshorestechnologiesconsent by following the instructions on the web-based form. If this Notice appears at http://www.regulations.gov/​#!home, you also may file a comment through that Web site.

If you file your comment on paper, write “Goldenshores, File No. 132 3087” on your comment and on the envelope, and mail or deliver it to the following address: Federal Trade Commission, Office of the Secretary, Room H-113 (Annex D), 600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20580. If possible, submit your paper comment to the Commission by courier or overnight service.

Visit the Commission Web site at http://www.ftc.gov to read this Notice and the news release describing it. The FTC Act and other laws that the Commission administers permit the collection of public comments to consider and use in this proceeding as appropriate. The Commission will consider all timely and responsive public comments that it receives on or before January 6, 2014. You can find more information, including routine uses permitted by the Privacy Act, in the Commission's privacy policy, at http://www.ftc.gov/​ftc/​privacy.htm.

Analysis of Agreement Containing Consent Order To Aid Public Comment

The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC” or “Commission”) has accepted, subject to final approval, an agreement containing consent order from Goldenshores Technologies, LLC, and Erik M. Geidl (“respondents”).

The proposed consent order has been placed on the public record for thirty (30) days for receipt of comments by interested persons. Comments received during this period will become part of the public record. After thirty (30) days, the Commission will again review the agreement and the comments received, and decide whether it should withdraw from the agreement or make the proposed order final.

Since at least February 2011, respondents have marketed a mobile application called the “Brightest Flashlight Free” mobile application (“Brightest Flashlight App”) to consumers for use on their Android mobile devices. The Brightest Flashlight App purportedly works by activating all lights on a mobile device, including, where available, the device's LED camera flash and screen to provide outward-facing illumination. As of May 2013, users have downloaded the Brightest Flashlight App tens of millions of times.

The Commission's complaint alleges two violations of Section 5(a) of the FTC Act, which prohibits deceptive and unfair acts or practices in or affecting commerce, by respondents. First, according to the complaint, respondents represent in the Brightest Flashlight App's privacy policy statement and end-user license agreement (“EULA”) that respondents may periodically collect, maintain, process, and use information from users' mobile devices to provide software updates, product support, and other services to users related to the Brightest Flashlight App, and to verify users' compliance with respondents' EULA. The complaint alleges that this claim is deceptive because respondents fail to disclose, or adequately disclose, that, when users run the Brightest Flashlight App, the application transmits, or allows the transmission of, their devices' precise geolocation along with persistent device identifiers to various third parties, including third party advertising networks.

Second, the complaint alleges that respondents falsely represent in the Brightest Flashlight EULA that consumers have the option to refuse the terms of the Brightest Flashlight EULA, including those relating to the collection and use of device data, and thereby prevent the Brightest Flashlight App from ever collecting or using their device's data. In fact, regardless of whether consumers accept or refuse the terms of the EULA, the Brightest Flashlight App transmits, or causes the transmission of, device data as soon as the consumer launches the application and before they have chosen to accept Start Printed Page 75352or refuse the terms of the Brightest Flashlight EULA.

The proposed consent order contains provisions designed to prevent respondents from engaging in similar acts or practices in the future. Specifically, Part I prohibits respondent from misrepresenting (1) the extent to which “covered information” is collected, used, disclosed, or shared and (2) the extent to which users may exercise control over the collection, use, disclosure, or sharing of “covered information” collected from or about them, their computers or devices, or their online activities. “Covered information” is defined as “(a) a first and last name; (b) a home or other physical address, including street name and name of city or town; (c) an email address or other online contact information, such as an instant messaging user identifier or a screen name; (d) a telephone number; (e) a Social Security number; (f) a driver's license or other state-issued identification number; (g) a financial institution account number; (h) credit or debit card information; (i) a persistent identifier, such as a customer number held in a “cookie,” a static Internet Protocol (“IP”) address, a mobile device ID, or processor serial number; (j) precise geolocation data of an individual or mobile device, including but not limited to GPS-based, WiFi-based, or cell-based location information (“geolocation information”); (k) an authentication credential, such as a username and password; or (l) any other communications or content stored on a consumer's mobile device.”

Part II requires respondents to give users of their mobile applications a clear and prominent notice and to obtain express affirmative consent prior to collecting their geolocation information. Part III requires respondents to delete any “covered information” in their possession, custody, or control that they collected from users of the Brightest Flashlight App prior to the entry of the order.

Parts IV, V, VI, VII, and VIII of the proposed order require respondent to keep copies of relevant advertisements and materials substantiating claims made in the advertisements; to provide copies of the order to its personnel; to notify the Commission of changes in corporate structure that might affect compliance obligations under the order; and to file compliance reports with the Commission. Part IX provides that the order will terminate after twenty (20) years, with certain exceptions.

The purpose of this analysis is to facilitate public comment on the proposed order. It is not intended to constitute an official interpretation of the complaint or the proposed order, or to modify the proposed order's terms in any way.

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By direction of the Commission.

Donald S. Clark,

Secretary.

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Footnotes

1.  In particular, the written request for confidential treatment that accompanies the comment must include the factual and legal basis for the request, and must identify the specific portions of the comment to be withheld from the public record. See FTC Rule 4.9(c), 16 CFR 4.9(c).

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[FR Doc. 2013-29531 Filed 12-10-13; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 6750-01-P