Feeds

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

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

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

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". ®

New hybrid storage solutions

More from The Register

next story
Apple Pay is a tidy payday for Apple with 0.15% cut, sources say
Cupertino slurps 15 cents from every $100 purchase
Google recommends pronounceable passwords
Super Chrome goes into battle with Mr Mxyzptlk
Reddit wipes clean leaked celeb nudie pics, tells users to zip it
Now we've had all THAT TRAFFIC, we 'deplore' this theft
YouTube, Amazon and Yahoo! caught in malvertising mess
Cisco says 'Kyle and Stan' attack is spreading through compromised ad networks
TorrentLocker unpicked: Crypto coding shocker defeats extortionists
Lousy XOR opens door into which victims can shove a foot
Greater dev access to iOS 8 will put us AT RISK from HACKERS
Knocking holes in Apple's walled garden could backfire, says securo-chap
Microsoft to patch ASP.NET mess even if you don't
We know what's good for you, because we made the mess says Redmond
NORKS ban Wi-Fi and satellite internet at embassies
Crackdown on tardy diplomatic sysadmins providing accidental unfiltered internet access
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.