Legal Featured Article
February 04, 2013
Path Agrees to $800k Settlement with FTC
By Oliver VanDervoort, Contributing Writer
It seems like one of the biggest concerns, when it comes to social media and the sites that host them, is that those sites won’t take enough precautions to keep their users safe. Facebook (News - Alert) has long been one of those sites people have often claimed isn’t doing enough to protect user privacy.
Path is another social networking site that apparently did so little that it agreed to a settlement that will see the firm pay $800,000 to the federal government.
Path has had a popular mobile app out for the last few years. Unfortunately for the company, it was found that the app was collecting users’ address book data without their knowledge. The company was embroiled in that controversy for over a year before finally reaching this settlement with the FTC.
During the announcement of that settlement, outgoing FTC chairman Jon Leibowitz (News - Alert), warned that social networking companies need to do a better job of making sure their customers are well covered.
Path’s biggest transgression was that it collected data from more than 3,000 users who were under the age of 13, and did so without their parents’ approval. That collection of data was a violation of the federal Children's Online Privacy Protection Act.
That violation led the settlement for cash, as well as the agreement to undergo some pretty rigorous changes to their privacy protection settings, as well as an agreement to allow the federal government to monitor its privacy tech for the next 20 years.
Path issued a statement of its own which admitted there was a problem, while also downplaying what that problem was. "Before the FTC (News - Alert) reached out to us, we discovered and fixed this sign-up process qualification, and took further action by suspending any underage accounts that had mistakenly been allowed to be created," the statement said.
Edited by Braden Becker
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