The FTC has approved the first-ever petition to reopen and modify a privacy-related consent order. The petition, filed by Sears Holdings Management Corporation, sought to amend the terms of Sears’ 2009 consent order, which settled allegations that Sears did not adequately disclose the extent to which desktop software it distributed collected information from consumers. After reviewing Sears’ petition and public comments, the Commission agreed with Sears that, as a result of changes in the mobile application marketplace, the Order’s requirements as applied to Sears’ mobile apps were “burdensome and counterproductive, both for consumers and Sears.” Hogan Lovells Partner Michelle Kisloff, Senior Associate Paul Otto, and Associate Joe Vladeck represented Sears in its petition.
The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse (“Clearinghouse”) recently released a study funded by the California Consumer Protection Foundation examining the potential privacy risks of mobile health and fitness apps. The study analyzed 43 popular health and fitness apps (free and paid) to identify potential privacy issues based on the data collected, stored, and transmitted by those apps.