Bengaluru: Advertising technology firm InMobi is going to pay $950,000 in civil penalties to settle charges by the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) that it tracked the locations of millions of consumers without their consent.
Under the settlement terms, InMobi was subject to a $4 million penalty, which was reduced to $950,000 based on the company’s financial condition.
InMobi will be required to delete the location information it collected without consent and also undergo an independent audit every two years for the next 20 years under the terms of the settlement.
FTC alleged that InMobi was tracking the locations of consumers who didn’t opt to being tracked, and even those that opted out.
“InMobi tracked the locations of hundreds of millions of consumers, including children, without their consent, in many cases totally ignoring consumers’ express privacy preferences,” said Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection in a statement on 22 June.
“This settlement ensures that InMobi will honour consumers’ privacy choices in the future, and will be held accountable for keeping their privacy promises.”
FTC alleged that InMobi violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) by collecting this information from software targeted at children despite claiming otherwise.
InMobi, however, defended itself in a statement. “During the investigation by FTC, InMobi discovered that there was a technical error at InMobi’s end that led to the process not being correctly implemented in all cases. As a result, some COPPA sites were served with interest-based campaigns on the InMobi network. InMobi promptly notified the FTC of this issue as soon as it was discovered and has made it clear from the outset that this was in no way deliberate,” it said.
“The errors were corrected in Q4 2015, and since then, InMobi has been fully compliant with all COPPA regulations,” the statement added.