Cookies are unique, persistent text files stored in a user’s browser that allow an app provider to recognize that user when the browser reconnects with the provider’s server. They are widely used by ecommerce and other web sites. A user can delete or control cookies by changing their browser settings.

The Federal Trade Commission recently entered into a consent agreement with Turn, Inc., a California-based digital marketing company, over its alleged use of “zombie” cookies (ones that were expressly deleted by users) from mobile apps without properly disclosing this practice.  The FTC asserted that Turn misrepresented in its privacy policy that users could restrict Turn’s ability to track users by blocking or limiting cookies and that users could opt out of tailored advertising through Turn’s opt-out page.

The consent agreement requires various actions by Turn over the next 20 years, including making clear and conspicuous disclosure of information that is collected and used for targeting advertising, providing users a true “opt out”, honoring user controls, compliance reporting, recordkeeping and compliance monitoring.

The FTC’s complaint is available here. The FTC’s decision and order are available here. Contact us at Ossian Law P.C. regarding any information technology law matter.

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