WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) — The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced Feb. 28 that it has approved a petition by Sears Holding Management requesting that the FTC reopen and modify an earlier order settling allegations that Sears had failed to disclose how much personal information was obtained from consumers who downloaded the company’s software app.

The original FTC order, enacted in 2009, mandated that Sears provide clear and prominent notice to consumers about any collection practices of any “tracking application.” Additionally, Sears had to obtain the express consent of consumers to collect data before installing the app on the consumers’ devices.

The settlement came after Sears offered $10 to consumers who installed a market research software application onto their personal computer. According to the FTC, Sears did not fully express to consumers the extent of the data that would be collected from the personal computers.

Sears seeks an update to what constitutes a “tracking application.” Sears says the current definition unnecessarily restricts the company’s ability to compete in the mobile app marketplace.

The FTC voted 2-0 to approve Sears’ petition as well to approve responses sent to members of the public who had submitted comments during the public comment period. Jarad Brown of the Bureau of Consumer Protection is the staff contact for the case.

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