Imagine this: You’re at home one evening when a sudden storm knocks out your power. You reach for that flashlight you keep in the kitchen drawer just for emergencies. You flip the switch, and the flashlight asks for your location. That would be weird, huh?
Well, that could be exactly what’s happening — on your phone.
Since February 2011, people have downloaded the Brightest Flashlight app to more than 50 million Android devices — making it one of the most popular free apps on the Android marketplace. According to the FTC, most of these users probably didn’t realize that anytime they launched the app, it collected and broadcasted their locations and device IDs to advertising networks and other third parties.
Goldenshores Technologies, the developer behind the Brightest Flashlight, has agreed to settle FTC charges that the company didn’t adequately disclose what information it collected and shared — not in the app’s user agreement or anywhere else.
If you want to know more about what apps collect and share about you, check out Understanding Mobile Apps.