Brightest Flashlight Android app slammed for lying to users

One of Android's most popular and highly rated apps has been sharing user location and ID data without their consent, according to a US regulator.

One of Android's most popular and highly rated apps, Brightest Flashlight Free, has been sharing user location and ID data without their consent, according to the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

The maker of the torch app, Goldenshores Technologies, has settled charges brought by the American regulator and will delete all information collected so far. In future it will have to fully disclose how the app shares users' data with advertisers.

Users' precise location and a unique device identifier were disclosed to advertisers, according to the FTC, without their knowledge. The company's privacy policy advised that this data was collected, but failed to disclose it was shared with third parties.

Worse, an opt-out in the app did nothing to stop the data being shared -- the app was sharing info before the user even clicked 'Accept'.

"When consumers are given a real, informed choice, they can decide for themselves whether the benefit of a service is worth the information they must share to use it," Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection said in a statement on its website. "But this flashlight app left them in the dark about how their information was going to be used."

Brightest Flashlight has been downloaded by more than 50 million Android fans, according to Google's Play Store. It has an incredibly high average user rating of 4.8 out of 5, from over 1 million reviews.

Have you downloaded Brightest Flashlight? Did you notice any suspiciously specific adverts? Do you think Google should do more to police this kind of app? Shine a light down in the comments, or over on our completely transparent Facebook page.

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