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Press Releases

Attorney General William Tong

07/22/2019

FOLLOWING FACEAPP PRIVACY CONTROVERSY, ATTORNEY GENERAL TONG ISSUES CONSUMER GUIDANCE ON PRIVACY AND MOBILE APPLICATIONS

(Hartford, CT) -- Following the latest privacy controversy surrounding viral mobile app FaceApp, Attorney General William Tong issued consumer guidance for safe use of mobile apps.

"Consumers have a right to know how their information will be used, stored, and protected," said Attorney General Tong. "Where companies fail to properly disclose the terms of use, do not follow those terms, or fail to secure personal information, they will be subject to scrutiny or enforcement action."

Office of the Attorney General tips for consumers prior to using any applications:

1. Keep your operating system updated, which helps protect your device.
2. Make sure the application you are reviewing is the actual one you want to download. Be sure to download from a trusted source, preferably the default source of applications for your device or from the official website.
3. Look for reviews and comments online about applications and their developers to see if there have been issues.
4. Check the application's permissions and privacy policy. Know what information the application wants from you and how will it be used.
5. After downloading an application, review your privacy settings. Settings are typically set as a default, but you can often change them to suit your needs as well as limit your social media exposure.
6. After downloading the application, look for warning signs such as disappearing from your home screen, exhibiting unusual behavior, asking for additional, unnecessary permissions, and draining power or data.
7. Delete applications you are no longer using and be sure to update those that you are continuing to use.
8. For parents be sure to make sure that your children cannot download applications without your permission and discuss with them that they need your permission.

Some key things to look for in terms of service and privacy policies include:

Terms of Service
• Arbitration clauses – you may be agreeing to submit to arbitration
• Jurisdiction clauses – you may be agreeing to that a certain set of laws apply, such as in a particular state
• Retroactive changes – you may be agreeing that continued use after any change means that you are bound by those terms

Privacy Policies
• What type of information is collected and why?
• How is it collected and used?
• Who will have access to the information?
• Can you review and correct your information or have it deleted?
• How long will the information be kept?
• Who is responsible for the privacy practices?

For additional information about mobile applications, see the Federal Trade Commission's webpage at: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0018-understanding-mobile-apps

Twitter: @AGWilliamTong
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Media Contact:

Elizabeth Benton
elizabeth.benton@ct.gov
860-808-5324 (office)
860-214-0937 (cell)

Consumer Inquiries:

860-808-5318
attorney.general@ct.gov