Following a public comment period, the Federal Trade Commission has approved a final order settling charges that Compete, Inc. violated the Federal Trade Commission Act by using its web-tracking software that collected personal information without disclosing the extent of the information it was collecting through its products and third party web tools. The FTC complaint alleged that the company also took steps that placed consumers at risk, as well as misrepresented that it would protect the personal data it collected.
The final settlement order requires Compete, Inc. to obtain consumers’ express consent before collecting any data from its software downloaded onto consumers’ computers, delete or anonymize the use of the consumer data it already has collected and provide directions to consumers for uninstalling its software. In addition, the settlement bars misrepresentations about the company’s privacy and data security practices and requires that it implement a comprehensive information security program with independent third-party audits every two years for 20 years.
The Commission vote approving the final order and letters to members of the public who commented on it was 3-0-2, with Chairman Jon Leibowitz and Commissioner Joshua Wright not participating. (FTC File No. 102-3155; the staff contacts are Ruth Yodaiken, Bureau of Consumer Protection, 202-326-2127, and Jamie Hine, 202-326-2188; see press release dated October 22, 2012.)
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