Monday, October 24, 2011

FTC Settles with Frostwire re Privacy Violations -- Compliance Monitoring/Reporting Part of Settlement

 Frostwire agreed to a stipulated final order resulting from the FTC’s complaintalleging that (a) users of FrostWire’s Android mobile file-sharing application were likely to unwittingly share personal files stored on their mobile devices with other P2P users after installing and running the application, and (b) FrostWire misrepresented to users of FrostWire’s desktop file-sharing application that certain files they downloaded would not be shared with other P2P users.  
The FTC also noted that there was no notice that adequately informed users of the consequences of the mobile application’s default settings, which amounted to unfair acts or practices in violation of Section 5 of the FTC Act.  With regard to the FrostWire desktop application, the FTC alleged that, by not clearly disclosing that items downloaded and saved by a user would be automatically shared in addition to the items in another folder specifically designated for sharing, FrostWire violated Section 5(a) of the FTC Act which prohibits deceptive acts or practices.  
The settlement stipulates that Frostwire:
  • is prohibited from misrepresenting its file-sharing settings and must clearly and prominently disclose to the user which user-generated files and which downloaded files will be shared and with whom; 
  • must modify its applications so that the user must affirmatively select which user-generated and downloaded content to share with other P2P users (as opposed to a default setting which allows for sharing);
  • must update older versions of the mobile and desktop applications to reflect the terms of the settlement; and
  • is subject to standard compliance monitoring and reporting obligations.


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