February 21, 2013

On February 22, 2013, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced its first Consent Order agreement for alleged unfair and deceptive trade practices against a mobile device manufacturer, HTC America, Inc. (HTC), maker of Android-based mobile devices.  The authors, Partner, Mary Ellen Callahan, and Associates David M. Didion and Sabrina N. Guenther, point out that this Consent Order is noteworthy for several reasons: first, the definition of covered information is very broad, including “individually identifiable information” such as precise geolocation, static IP address, MAC address, cookies, and almost all information on a particular mobile device; second, the FTC is continuing its pursuit of legal theories against “unfair” data security practices whenever it perceives a security gap; and third, although this Consent Order involves a mobile device manufacturer, the conclusions and content could be applied to many participants in the mobile industry.