The Federal Trade Commission wants app users to know if their television viewing habits are being tracked by Silverpush for marketing purposes.
The agency recently warned 12 application developers to notify consumers if the software, which tracks television use whether or not a user is in an app, is in use in the United States. Silverpush says it is not.
According to the FCC, the app developers in question ask end users to approve access to the device’s microphone even though their apps don’t require audio input. This, the agency concluded, was to collect information on users’ activities. It reminded app developers to follow FTC marketing guidelines and not to state or imply that their apps aren’t collecting and transmitting television viewing behavior, which would risk violating Section 5 of the FTC Act.
It’s an interesting counterpoint to a recent Eleventh Circuit decision, which held that a content provider could not hold a company liable for tracking viewing habits through third party software, because the TV app was free and there was no direct customer relationship with the company.
The FTC warning does not distinguish among apps by type and is important for both app developers and content providers to keep in mind.
If you or your company have questions or concerns, contact the author or a Fox Rothschild Privacy & Data Security team member.