This Popular Flashlight App Has Been Secretly Sharing Your Location And Device ID

More than 50 million users were left in the dark about how Brightest Flashlight shared their location and device information with third parties.

The Android app Brightest Flashlight has been installed between 50 million and 100 million times, averaging a 4.8 rating from more than 1 million reviews. Yet its customers might not be so happy to learn the app has been secretly recording and sharing their location and device ID information.

On Thursday, the app maker GoldenShores Technologies settled Federal Trade Commission charges that it deceived users and is thus prohibited from further "misrepresenting how consumers’ information is collected and shared and how much control consumers have over the way their information is used."

GoldenShore's privacy policy had mentioned that information collected would be used by the company, but the FTC said location and device information was shared automatically with advertisers and other third parties--even when users opted out. In fact, before they could accept or refuse the app's terms of agreement, the FTC said Brightest Flashlight was already collecting and sending information.

"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," said Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, in a statement. "But this flashlight app left them in the dark about how their information was going to be used."

[Image: deviantart user VitaPiscana]

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108 Comments

  • This is irritating. Half of the times this happens. We are sharing details we shouldn't be unknowingly. Ever since I have got to know this I have uninstalled this app and similarly with whatsapp, it's known to be storing all our private conversations and selling it to companies. Therefore, I switched to Photo4tune because of better privacy options and it is also available as a free chat app for download on Playstore!

  • This is irritating. Half of the times this happens. We are sharing details we shouldn't be unknowingly. Ever since I have got to know this I have uninstalled this app and similarly with whatsapp, it's known to be storing all our private conversations and selling it to companies. Therefore, I switched to Photo4tune because of better privacy options and it is also available as a free chat app for download on Playstore!

  • Regina Säveholm Olsson

    Who cares if they know what phone i use or where i am? Its not like they can really do anything with the information anyway...

  • Black Star Ranch

    ....simpler solution; don't use a cellphone. I've been clean, sober, and cellphone free for about ten years!

  • Duh

    What do you think facebook and other social media is? Everything posted,signed up for apps added=all of your information can and will be accessed and this is nothing new.

  • Duh

    Smartphones are being used by people that are not ignorant but are too trusting and are being taken advantage of. I don't have one,I don't need someone knowing where I am every second of every day.

  • nitestar

    People don't read the eula's because they're like reading the entire tax code; it's so filled with legalistic crap, often many pages of it. Lots of software puts in so much that it would take half an hour to read it all, and most wouldn't understand it anyway. So they just point and click, and hope for the best. And they they get screwed. Lets face it, America,and a lot of other countries, are built around laws that favor the shrewd, the lying, and the crooked. Little law is actually written to favor the good guy, the one who accepts people at their word. "Let the buyer beware" is the rule of the day. Despite all the religious people on earth, many of them do out of their way to cheat people all day, every day, and they feel good about doing that. OH; and there was an article about how Microsoft's media player in windows started sending information about everything that the computer user played on their computer back to Microsoft years ago, all in order to collect data about the user. So, this is nothing new.

  • Becka Archer

    Check out Amazing Flashlight for Android. It is considered
    by many as the best and safest flashlight
    app for android.

  • RealityAlwaysBites

    Shut them down and imprison the criminal owners and developers, it will continue until someone pays a personal price.

  • Tomek

    Western fascists Regimes always means invigilation, lack of privacy, its typical for totalitarian systems.

  • John Smith

    Yeah...cause middle eastern, south american, african and asian regimes are known for their transparency, freedom and human rights, huh?

    The dips**ts are out in force on this blog aren't they?