On December 5, 2013, the Federal Trade Commission announced a proposed settlement with mobile app developer Goldenshores Technologies, LLC (“Goldenshores”) following allegations that Goldenshores’ privacy policy for its popular Brightest Flashlight Free app deceived consumers regarding how the app collects information, including geolocation information, and how that information may be shared with third parties. Brightest Flashlight Free, developed for the Android operating system, allows its users to use their cell phones as flashlights.

The FTC’s complaint states that the privacy policy and end user license agreement for the Brightest Flashlight Free app “does not disclose or adequately disclose to consumers that the Brightest Flashlight App transmits or allows the transmission of device data, including precise geolocation along with persistent device identifiers, to third parties, including advertising networks.”

The proposed settlement agreement and consent order bars Goldenshores from misrepresenting how the Brightest Flashlight Free app collects, uses or discloses information, and the extent to which users may exercise control over such use or disclosure. The proposed settlement also requires Goldenshores to obtain “affirmative express consent” from users prior to transmitting geolocation information from the Brightest Flashlight Free app and to “clearly and prominently” indicate to users: (1) that the Brightest Flashlight Free app collects or transmits geolocation information; (2) how geolocation information may be used; (3) why the app accesses geolocation information; and (4) the third parties that receive geolocation information directly or indirectly from the app. Finally, the proposed settlement requires Goldenshores to delete any personal information it has previously collected via the Brightest Flashlight Free app.

In announcing the settlement, Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, commented that the Brightest Flashlight Free app left consumers “in the dark about how their information was going to be used.”

The settlement is open for public comment until January 6, 2014.

Read the FTC Business Center Blog’s post about the Goldenshores settlement.

Update: On April 9, 2014, the FTC approved the final settlement order with Goldenshores.