WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) — The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has reached a settlement with technology company Vulcan that will resolve allegations the company unfairly placed apps on consumers’ mobile devices without permission.
Vulcan and its founders, Ali Moiz and Murtaza Hussein, allegedly bought a Google Chrome browser extension game called Running Fred, which is used by more than 200,000 consumers. The FTC charges Vulcan then replaced the game with its own extension, which purported to offer users unbiased recommendations of popular Android applications.
The extension actually installed apps directly onto consumers’ Android devices and bypassed the permission process, according to the FTC.
“After Vulcun acquired the Running Fred game, they used it to install a different app, commandeer people’s computers, and bombard them with ads,” said Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “We’re very pleased we were able to stop these practices.”
Under the settlement, Vulcan must tell consumers about the types of information a product or service will access and how exactly it will be used. It must display any built-in permissions notice associated with installing a product or service and it must get user consent before any installation.