Privacy Group Wants The FTC To Investigate Jay Z App
Remember when Jay Z gave away 1 million copies of his new album Magna Carta Holy Grail to Samsung Galaxy smartphone users through a special app? While it may have been a smart business move, it caused lots of controversy. First there was a debate about if those copies should be considered as sales. Billboard decided not to count them.
Now the app has caused outrage as users are worried about the data it collects, reports the Los Angeles Times. So the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), an advocacy group, is requesting that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate.
“Samsung failed to disclose material information about the privacy practices of the app, collected data unnecessary to the functioning of the Magna Carta App, deprived users of meaningful choice regarding the collection of their data, interfered with device functionality, and failed to implement reasonable data minimization procedures,” the group stated in its complaint.
Samsung, however, says the complaint with the FTC is baseless and that the Magna Carta app’s permissions are in line with those on other apps.
“Any information obtained through the application download process was purely for customer verification purposes, app functionality purposes, and for marketing communications, but only if the customer requests to receive those marketing communications,” Samsung said in a statement. “Samsung is in no way inappropriately using or selling any information obtained from users through the download process.”
Before people could download the music and other features (such as lyric sheets), the app required a number of permissions users had to approve first. “The app accessed substantial information, including data about users’ location, telephone numbers dialed, networks and other applications on the phone, according to the EPIC filing,” reports the Times.
Users had to first sign in through Facebook or Twitter then enter their age before they could access the app’s features. Additionally, the app required permission to post to social media sites on users’ behalf and required status updates to access lyrics.
Herein lies the problem. According to the EPIC, these requirements were unnecessary for the app’s purpose and the app collected an overly broad set of data. Thus, EPIC wants the commission investigate the company and prevent it from causing similar privacy issues with future apps. They have also asked that the commission restrict Samsung’s “data collection to the user data necessary to run the app” and “delete the user data that was improperly obtained” from users.
During Jay-Z’s recent day-long Twitter chat, Politico media reporter Dylan Beyers asked for the rap mogul’s response to the privacy issues. According to the Times, Jay-Z’s response: “sux must do better.”