The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has agreed to settle with the web analytics firm Compete, which was claimed of illegally collecting personal information that includes credit card and social security numbers, without seeking permission from customers.
FTC revealed that the Boston-based firm had made consumers download its tracking software in various ways, also by urging them to join a ‘Consumer Input Panel’ that was supported through ads that pointed consumers to its website.
The firm was claimed to have informed consumers that they could win rewards by joining the ‘Panel’ while sharing their views about products and services.
The organisation also revealed that Compete had also allegedly promised that installation of its other software, the Compete Toolbar, which could give them ‘instant access’ to information about the websites they visited.
The firm’s software gathers information regarding the websites visited by the customers and their activity online, while the firm will use the obtained information to compile reports for clients on the traffic rate of a website or search term.
The settlement bars Compete from making fake statements regarding its privacy and security exercises, and making it must for it to implement an information security programme to be audited by a third party for every two years during the next 20 years.