Feeds

'Deceptive' web tracker settles with FTC over personal data slurp

Compete had been charged with sneakily grabbing names, credit card numbers

SANS - Survey on application security programs

Web analytics firm Compete has settled with the Federal Trade Commission over charges that it was slurping users' personal data without permission and wasn't adequately protecting that information.

The company tracks the browsing habits of people who download its software and then sells that data to clients so they can improve their website traffic and sales.

But according to the FTC, that software regularly captured additional personal details about the users' online activity, including sensitive information including credit card and social security numbers.

Compete, owned by Kantar Media, which is owned by marketing comms behemoth WPP, now has to give its users directions about how to install its software as part of the settlement. The tracking firm also has to obtain explicit consent before collecting data and has to delete or anonymise all the information it has already gathered.

The company more or less tricked folks into downloading the tracking software, the FTC alleged. Some users joined a "consumer input panel", promoted using ads that put them on the Compete website, because they were told they could win rewards by sharing their opinions about products and services, the FTC charged.

The toolbar was another good way to get the software embedded, promising users instant access to data about the websites they visited. Aside from direct downloads, Compete also licensed the software to other companies.

The firm made numerous assurances to people that their data would be safe, that it was only interested in the webpages visited and that personal identifiable information would be stripped out, but the FTC alleged that these promises were "false and deceptive". ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Samsung Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner hacked in just 4 DAYS
Sammy's newbie cooked slower than iPhone, also costs more to build
Putin tells Snowden: Russia conducts no US-style mass surveillance
Gov't is too broke for that, Russian prez says
Snowden-inspired crypto-email service Lavaboom launches
German service pays tribute to Lavabit
Mounties always get their man: Heartbleed 'hacker', 19, CUFFED
Canadian teen accused of raiding tax computers using OpenSSL bug
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Call of Duty 'fragged using OpenSSL's Heartbleed exploit'
So it begins ... or maybe not, says one analyst
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.