The Federal Trade Commission has given final approval to a settlement with mobile phone manufacturer BLU Products, Inc. and its co-owner over allegations that they deceived consumers about the disclosure of their personal information and BLU’s data security practices.
In its complaint, the FTC alleges that BLU and its co-owner and President Samuel Ohev-Zion falsely claimed that they limited third-party data collection from BLU device users to only information needed to perform requested services. They also falsely represented that they had implemented “appropriate” procedures to protect consumers’ personal information, according to the complaint.
The FTC alleges, however, that BLU and Ohev-Zion failed to implement appropriate security procedures and to oversee the practices of their service providers. As a result, a third party, retained by BLU to provide security and operating system updates, collected far more information from consumers’ devices – including the full contents of their text messages – than was needed for the job, according to the complaint.
Under the settlement with the FTC, BLU and Ohev-Zion are prohibited from misrepresenting the extent to which they protect the privacy and security of personal information. They also must implement and maintain a comprehensive security program that addresses security risks associated with new and existing mobile devices and protects consumer information. In addition, BLU will be subject to third-party assessments of its security program every two years for 20 years, as well as record keeping and compliance monitoring requirements.
The Commission vote to give final approval to the settlement and responses to the six commenters was 5-0.
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